Robert Schuman

Robert Schuman in Europe

Life and Work of Robert Schuman (1886-1963)

The Concise Encyclopedia of the European Union describes robert schuman (1886-1963) in the following terms: [1] Like his friend Alcide de Gasperi, Robert Schuman based his political beliefs on Catholicism, was bicultural (he was educated in Germany but brought up in Lorraine, which was returned from Germany to France in 1919) and is regarded as one of the founding fathers of the EU.

After serving in the German army in World War I, Schuman entered the French parliament, where he remained until the collaborationist Vichy government was formed in 1940. Jailed by the Gestapo, he escaped to join the underground. After the war French governments came and went with bewildering rapidity, but Schuman endured as finance minister, prime minister and finally foreign minister. At the time there were unresolved territorial and industrial problems between France and a Germany which was desperate to be accepted back into the Western community of nations. In 1950, adopting a scheme devised by Jean Monnet, Schuman proposed to place German and French coal and steel production under a common supranational authority. This ‘Schuman Plan’ was the first step to Franco-German reconciliation and the federation of Europe. So began another Catholic friendship, with Chancellor Konrad Adenauer, and although their ambition for a common European army failed in 1954, both men lived to preside over the culmination of their hopes in the creation of the European Economic Community in 1957. (See also European Coal and Steel Community.)

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Notas y References

  1. Based on the book “A Concise Encyclopedia of the European Union from Aachen to Zollverein”, by Rodney Leach (Profile Books; London)

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