Treaty of Lisbon
The Treaty of Lisbon is an international agreement that amends the two treaties which form the constitutional basis of the European Union. The Treaty of Lisbon was signed by the EU member states on 13 December 2007, entered into force on 1 December 2009, it amends the Maastricht Treaty, known in updated form as the Treaty on European Union or TEU, the Treaty of Rome, known in updated form as the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union or TFEU. It amends the attached treaty protocols as well as the Treaty establishing the European Atomic Energy Community. Prominent changes included the move from unanimity to qualified majority voting in at least 45 policy areas in the Council of Ministers, a change in calculating such a majority to a new double majority, a more powerful European Parliament forming a bicameral legislature alongside the Council of Ministers under the ordinary legislative procedure, a consolidated legal personality for the EU and the creation of a long-term President of the European Council and a High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.
The Treaty made the Union's bill of rights, the Charter of Fundamental Rights binding. The Treaty for the first time gave member states the explicit legal right to leave the EU, established a procedure by which to do so; the stated aim of the treaty was to "complete the process started by the Treaty of Amsterdam and by the Treaty of Nice with a view to enhancing the efficiency and democratic legitimacy of the Union and to improving the coherence of its action". Opponents of the Treaty of Lisbon, such as former Danish Member of the European Parliament Jens-Peter Bonde, argued that it would centralize the EU, weaken democracy by "moving power away" from national electorates. Supporters argue that it brings more checks and balances into the EU system, with stronger powers for the European Parliament and a new role for national parliaments. Negotiations to modify EU institutions began in 2001, resulting first in the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe, which would have repealed the existing European treaties and replaced them with a "constitution".
Although ratified by a majority of member states, this was abandoned after being rejected by 54% of French voters on 29 May 2005 and by 61% of Dutch voters on 1 June 2005. After a "period of reflection", member states agreed instead to maintain the existing treaties, but to amend them, salvaging a number of the reforms, envisaged in the constitution. An amending "reform" treaty was drawn up and signed in Lisbon in 2007, it was intended to have been ratified by all member states by the end of 2008. This timetable failed due to the initial rejection of the Treaty in June 2008 by the Irish electorate, a decision, reversed in a second referendum in October 2009 after Ireland secured a number of concessions related to the treaty; the need to review the EU's constitutional framework in light of the accession of ten new Member States in 2004, was highlighted in a declaration annexed to the Treaty of Nice in 2001. The agreements at Nice had paved the way for further enlargement of the Union by reforming voting procedures.
The Laeken declaration of December 2001 committed the EU to improving democracy and efficiency, set out the process by which a constitution aiming to achieve these goals could be created. The European Convention was established, presided over by former French President Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, was given the task of consulting as as possible across Europe with the aim of producing a first draft of the Constitution; the final text of the proposed Constitution was agreed upon at the summit meeting on 18–19 June 2004 under the presidency of Ireland. The Constitution, having been agreed by heads of government from the 25 Member States, was signed at a ceremony in Rome on 29 October 2004. Before it could enter into force, however, it had to be ratified by each member state. Ratification took different forms in each country, depending on the traditions, constitutional arrangements, political processes of each country. In 2005, referendums held in France and the Netherlands rejected the European Constitution.
While the majority of the Member States had ratified the European Constitution, due to the requirement of unanimity to amend the treaties of the EU, it became clear that it could not enter into force. This led to a "period of reflection" and the political end of the proposed European Constitution. In 2007, Germany declared the period of reflection over. By March, the 50th anniversary of the Treaties of Rome, the Berlin Declaration was adopted by all Member States; this declaration outlined the intention of all Member States to agree on a new treaty in time for the 2009 Parliamentary elections, to have a ratified treaty before mid-2009. Before the Berlin Declaration, the Amato Group – a group of European politicians, backed by the Barroso Commission with two representatives in the group – worked unofficially on rewriting the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe. On 4 June 2007, the group released their text in French – cut from 63,000 words in 448 articles in the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe to 12,800 words in 70 articles.
In the Berlin Declaration, the EU leaders unofficially set a new timeline for the new treaty: 21–23 June 2007: European Council meeting in Brussels, mandate for Intergovernmental Conference 23 July 2007: IGC in Lisbon, text of Reform
Western European Union
The Western European Union was the international organisation and military alliance that succeeded the Western Union after the 1954 amendment of the 1948 Treaty of Brussels. The WEU implemented the Modified Brussels Treaty; the WEU member states were allies of the United States during the Cold War through the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. At the turn of the 21st century, after the end of the Cold War, WEU tasks and institutions were transferred to the European Union, providing central parts of the EU's new military component, the European Common Security and Defence Policy; this process was completed in 2009 when a solidarity clause between the member states of the European Union, similar to the WEU's mutual defence clause, entered into force with the Treaty of Lisbon. The states party to the Modified Treaty of Brussels decided to terminate that treaty on 31 March 2010, with all the WEU's remaining activities to be ceased within 15 months. On 30 June 2011, the WEU was declared defunct.
The Treaty of Brussels was signed by the United Kingdom, Belgium and the Netherlands on 17 March 1948, establishing the Western Union - an intergovernmental defence alliance that promoted economic and social collaboration. The need to back up the commitments of the North Atlantic Treaty with appropriate political and military structures led to the creation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. In December 1950 the parties to the Treaty of Brussels decided to transfer the headquarters and plans of the Western Union Military Organisation to NATO, whose Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe took over responsibility for the defence of Western Europe; the establishment of NATO, along with the signing of a succession of treaties establishing the Organisation for European Economic Cooperation, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, the Council of Europe and the European Coal and Steel Community, left the Treaty of Brussels and its Western Union devoid of authority. The Western Union's founding Treaty of Brussels was amended at the 1954 Paris Conference as a result of the failure of the Treaty establishing the European Defence Community to gain French ratification: The General Treaty of 1952 formally named the EDC as a prerequisite of the end of Allied occupation of Germany, there was a desire to include Germany in the Western defence architecture.
The Modified Brussels Treaty transformed the Western Union into the Western European Union, at which point Italy and West Germany were admitted. Although the WEU established by the Modified Brussels Treaty was less powerful and ambitious than the original Western Union, German membership of the WEU was considered sufficient for the occupation of the country to end in accordance with the General Treaty; the signatories of the Paris Agreements stated their three main objectives in the preamble to the Modified Brussels Treaty: To create in Western Europe a firm basis for European economic recovery. The social and cultural aspects of the Treaty of Brussels were handed to the Council of Europe to avoid duplication of responsibilities. This, in addition to the existence of NATO, marginalised the WEU, caused it to be defunct. On 1 January 1960 in accordance with the decision taken on 21 October 1959 by the Council of Western European Union and with Resolution23 adopted on 16 November 1959 by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, the WEU activities in social and cultural areas were transferred to the Council of Europe, running programmes in these fields.
The European Universities Committee was transferred to the Council of Europe separately from the rest of WEU cultural activities. From the late 1970s onwards, efforts were made to add a security dimension to the European Communities' European Political Cooperation. Opposition to these efforts from Denmark and Ireland led the remaining EC countries - all WEU members - to reactivate the WEU in 1984. Prior to this point there had been minimal use of the provisions of the Modified Brussels Treaty. In 1992, the WEU adopted the Petersberg Declaration, defining the so-called Petersberg tasks designed to cope with the possible destabilising of Eastern Europe; the WEU itself depended on cooperation between its members. Its tasks ranged from the most modest to the most robust, included humanitarian and peacekeeping tasks as well as tasks for combat forces in crisis management, including peacemaking. At the 1996 NATO ministerial meeting in Berlin, it was agreed that the Western European Union would oversee the creation of a European Security and Defence Identity within NATO structures.
The ESDI was intended as a European'pillar' within NATO to allow European countries to act militarily where NATO wished not to, to alleviate the United States' financial burden of maintaining military bases in Europe, which it had done since the Cold War. The Berlin agreement allowed European countries to use NATO assets. In 1998 the United Kingdom, which had traditionally opposed the introduction of European autonomous defence capacities, signed the Saint-Malo declaration; this marked a turning point as the declaration endorsed the creation of a European s
The Maastricht Treaty was signed on 7 February 1992 by the members of the European Community in Maastricht, Netherlands to further European integration. On 9 -- 10 December 1991, the same city hosted the European Council; the treaty founded the European Union and established its pillar structure which stayed in place until the Lisbon Treaty came into force in 2009. The treaty greatly expanded the competences of the EEC/EU and led to the creation of the single European currency, the euro; the Maastricht Treaty reformed and amended the treaties establishing the European Communities, the EU's first pillar. It renamed European Economic Community the European Community, to reflect its expanded competences beyond economic matters; the Maastricht Treaty created two new "pillars" of the EU on Common Foreign and Security Policy and Cooperation in the Fields of Justice and Home Affairs, which replaced the former informal intergovernmental cooperation bodies named TREVI and European Political Cooperation on EU Foreign policy coordination.
The Maastricht Treaty and all pre-existing treaties, has subsequently been further amended by the treaties of Amsterdam and Lisbon. Today it is one of two treaties forming the constitutional basis of the European Union, the other being the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. While the current version of the TEU entered into force in 2009, following the Treaty of Lisbon, the older form of the same document was implemented by the Treaty of Maastricht; the signing of the Treaty of Maastricht took place in Maastricht, Netherlands, on 7 February 1992. The Dutch government, by virtue of holding Presidency of the Council of the European Union during the negotiations in the second half of 1991, arranged a ceremony inside the government buildings of the Limburg province on the river Maas. Representatives from the twelve member states of the European Communities were present, signed the treaty as plenipotentiaries, marking the conclusion of the period of negotiations. Only three countries held referendums.
The process of ratifying the treaty was fraught with difficulties in three states. In Denmark, the first Danish Maastricht Treaty referendum was held on 2 June 1992 and ratification of the treaty was rejected by a margin of 50.7% to 49.3%. Subsequently, alterations were made to the treaty through the addition of the Edinburgh Agreement which lists four Danish exceptions, this treaty was ratified the following year on 18 May 1993 after a second referendum was held in Denmark, with legal effect after the formally granted royal assent on 9 June 1993. In September 1992, a referendum in France only narrowly supported the ratification of the treaty, with 50.8% in favour. This narrow vote for ratification in France, known at the time as the ‘petite oui’, led Jacques Delors to comment that,'Europe began as an elitist project in which it was believed that all, required was to convince the decision-makers; that phase of benign despotism is over.' Uncertainty over the Danish and French referendums was one of the causes of the turmoil on the currency markets in September 1992, which led to the UK pound's expulsion from the Exchange Rate Mechanism.
In the United Kingdom, an opt-out from the treaty's social provisions was opposed in Parliament by the opposition Labour and Liberal Democrat MPs and the treaty itself by the Maastricht Rebels within the governing Conservative Party. The number of rebels exceeded the Conservative majority in the House of Commons, thus the government of John Major came close to losing the confidence of the House. In accordance with British constitutional convention that of parliamentary sovereignty, ratification in the UK was not subject to approval by referendum. Despite this, the British constitutional historian Vernon Bogdanor suggests that there was “a clear constitutional rationale for requiring a referendum” based on the allocation of legislative power; the TEU entered into force on 1 November 1993. Treaties amending the TEU: Treaty of Amsterdam Treaty of Nice Treaty of Lisbon The treaty led to the creation of the euro. One of the obligations of the treaty for the members was to keep "sound fiscal policies, with debt limited to 60% of GDP and annual deficits no greater than 3% of GDP".
The treaty created what was referred to as the pillar structure of the European Union. The treaty established the three pillars of the European Union—one supranational pillar created from three European Communities, the Common Foreign and Security Policy pillar, the Justice and Home Affairs pillar; the first pillar was where the EU's supra-national institutions—the Commission, the European Parliament and the European Court of Justice—had the most power and influence. The other two pillars were more intergovernmental in nature with decisions being made by committees composed of member states' politicians and officials. All three pillars were the extensions of existing policy structures; the European Community pillar was the continuation of the European Economic Community with the "Economic" being dropped from the name to represent the wider policy base given by the Maastricht Treaty. Coordination in foreign policy had taken place since the beginning of the 1970s under the name of European Political Cooperation, first written into the treaties by the Single European Act but not as a part of the EEC.
While the Justice and Home Affairs pillar extended cooperatio
The Eastern Bloc was the group of communist states of Central and Eastern Europe, East Asia and Southeast Asia under the hegemony of the Soviet Union during the Cold War in opposition to the capitalist Western Bloc. In Western Europe the term Eastern Bloc referred to the USSR and its East European satellite states in the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance. In the Americas, the communist bloc included the Caribbean Republic of Cuba, since 1961. Soviet control of the Eastern Bloc was tested by the 1948 Czechoslovak coup d'état and the Tito–Stalin Split over the direction of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, the Chinese Communist Revolution and China's participation in the Korean War. After Stalin's death in 1953, the Korean War ceased with the 1954 Geneva Conference. In Europe, anti-Soviet sentiment provoked the Uprising of 1953 in East Germany; the break-up of the Eastern Bloc began in 1956 with Nikita Khrushchev's anti-Stalinist speech On the Cult of Personality and Its Consequences.
This speech was a factor in the Hungarian Revolution of 1956. The Sino–Soviet Split gave North Korea and North Vietnam more independence from both and facilitated the Soviet–Albanian split; the Cuban Missile Crisis preserved the Cuban Revolution from rollback by the United States, but Fidel Castro became independent of Soviet influence afterwards, most notably during the 1975 Cuban intervention in Angola. That year, the communist victory in former French Indochina following the end of the Vietnam War gave the Eastern Bloc renewed confidence after it had been frayed by Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev's 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia to suppress the Prague Spring; this led to the Socialist People's Republic of Albania withdrawing from the Warsaw Pact aligning with Mao Zedong's China until the Sino-Albanian split. Under the Brezhnev Doctrine, the Soviet Union reserved the right to intervene in other socialist states. In response, China moved towards the United States following the Sino-Soviet border conflict and reformed and liberalized its economy while the Eastern Bloc saw the Era of Stagnation in comparison with the capitalist First World.
The Soviet–Afghan War nominally expanded the Eastern Bloc, but the war proved unwinnable and too costly for the Soviets, challenged in Eastern Europe by the civil resistanceof Solidarity. In the late 1980s, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev pursued policies of glasnost and perestroika to reform the Eastern Bloc and end the Cold War, which brought forth unrest throughout the bloc. Unlike previous Soviet leaders in 1953, 1956 and 1968, Gorbachev refused to use force to end the 1989 Revolutions against Marxist–Leninist rule in Eastern Europe; the fall of the Berlin Wall and end of the Warsaw Pact spread nationalist and liberal ideals throughout the Soviet Union, which would soon dissolve at the end of 1991. Conservative communist elites launched a 1991 Soviet coup d'état attempt, which hastened the end of Marxist–Leninist rule in Eastern Europe; the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests in China were violently repressed by the communist government there, which maintained its grip on power. Although the Soviet Union and its rival the United States considered Europe to be the most important front of the Cold War, the term Eastern Bloc was used interchangeably with the term Second World.
This broadest usage of the term would include not only Maoist China and Cambodia, but short-lived Soviet satellites such as the Second East Turkestan Republic, the People's Republic of Azerbaijan and Republic of Mahabad, as well as the Marxist–Leninist states straddling the Second and Third Worlds before the end of the Cold War: the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen, the People's Republic of the Congo, the People's Republic of Benin, the People's Republic of Angola and People's Republic of Mozambique from 1975, the People's Revolutionary Government of Grenada from 1979 to 1983, the Derg/People's Democratic Republic of Ethiopia from 1974 and the Somali Democratic Republic from 1969 until the Ogaden War in 1977. Many states were accused by the Western Bloc of being in the Eastern Bloc when they were part of the Non-Aligned Movement; the most limited definition of the Eastern Bloc would only include the Warsaw Pact states and the Mongolian People's Republic as former satellite states most dominated by the Soviet Union.
However, North Korea was subordinate before the Korean War and Soviet aid during the Vietnam War enabled Vietnam to dominate Laos and Cambodia until the end of the Cold War. Cuba's defiance of complete Soviet control was noteworthy enough that Cuba was sometimes excluded as a satellite state altogether, as it sometimes intervened in other Third World countries when Moscow opposed this; the only surviving communist states are China, Cuba, North Korea and Laos. Their state socialist experience was more in line with decolonization from the Global North and anti-imperialism towards the West instead of the Red Army occupation of the former Eastern Bloc; the five surviving socialist states all adopted economic reforms to varying degrees. China and Vietnam are described as more state capitalist than the more traditionalist Cuba and Laos and the more Stalinist North Korea. Cambodia and Kazakhstan are still led by the same Eastern Bloc leaders as during the Cold War, though they are not Marxis
The Thorn Commission was the European Commission that held office from 6 January 1981 until 5 January 1985. Its President was Gaston Thorn, it was succeeded by the Delors Commission. With a current economic crisis, it had to speed up enlargement to Greece and Portugal while making steps towards the Single European Act in 1985. However, with a period of eurosclerosis, due to economic problems and British vetoing over the Community budget, Thorn was unable to exert his influence to any significant extent; the colour of the row indicates the approximate political leaning of the office holder using the following scheme
Common Foreign and Security Policy
The Common Foreign and Security Policy is the organised, agreed foreign policy of the European Union for security and defence diplomacy and actions. CFSP deals only with a specific part of the EU's external relations, which domains include Trade and Commercial Policy and other areas such as funding to third countries, etc. Decisions require unanimity among member states in the Council of the European Union, but once agreed, certain aspects can be further decided by qualified majority voting. Foreign policy is chaired and represented by the EU's High Representative Federica Mogherini; the CFSP sees the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation as responsible for the territorial defence of Europe and reconciliation. However, since 1999, the European Union is responsible for implementing missions such as peacekeeping and policing of treaties. A phrase used to describe the relationship between the EU forces and NATO is "separable, but not separate"; the same forces and capabilities form the basis of both EU and NATO efforts, but portions can be allocated to the European Union if necessary.
Co-operation in international trade negotiations, under the EU's Common Commercial Policy, dates back to the establishment of the community in 1957. The CFSP itself has its origins in the formation of European Political Co-operation in 1970. European Political Co-operation was an informal consultation process between member states on foreign policy matters, with the aim of creating a common approach to foreign policy issues and promoting both the EC's own interests and those of the international community as a whole; this includes promoting international co-operation, respect for human rights and the rule of law. The weaknesses evident in EPC, for example during the Yugoslav wars, led to a desire to strengthen foreign policy; that was consolidated in the Maastricht Treaty, which entered into force in 1993 and established the European Union. While the existing supranational European Economic Community became one of three pillars, two more pillars were erected; the second CFSP-pillar was based on intergovernmentalism, which meant unanimity between members in the Council of Ministers and little influence by the other institutions.
The Amsterdam Treaty created the office of the High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy to co-ordinate and represent the EU's foreign policy. The Treaty of Lisbon brought an end to the pillar system; the CFSP's status of being a "pillar" thus ended. Furthermore, in an effort to ensure greater co-ordination and consistency in EU foreign policy, the Treaty of Lisbon created a High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, de facto merging the post of High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy and European Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy. Since December 2011 the High Representative is in charge of the European External Action Service, created by the Treaty of Lisbon, it is intended to be a common Foreign Office or Diplomatic Corps for the European Union. According to Article J.1 of title V of the Maastricht Treaty, the European Union defines and implements a common foreign and security policy that covers all areas of foreign and security policy, the objectives of which are to: Safeguard the common values, fundamental interests and integrity of the Union in conformity with the principles of the United Nations Charter.
The European Council defines the principles and general guidelines for the CFSP as well as common strategies to be implemented by the EU. On the basis of those guidelines the Council of Ministers adopts common positions. Joint actions address specific situations where operation action by the EU is considered necessary and lay down the objectives and means to be made available to the EU, they commit the member states. Common positions on the other hand, define the approach that the EU takes on a certain matter of geographical or thematic nature, define in the abstract the general guidelines to which the national policies of Member states must conform; the High Representative, in conjunction with the President of the European Council, speaks on behalf of the EU in agreed foreign policy matters and can have the task of articulating ambiguous policy positions created by disagreements among member states. The Common Foreign and Security Policy requires unanimity among the now 28 member states on the appropriate policy to follow on any particular policy.
Disagreements in CFSP, such as those that occurred over the war in Iraq, are not uncommon. The High Representative coordinates the work of the European Union Special Representatives. With the Lisbon Treaty taking effect, the position became distinct from the Secretary-General of the Council of Ministers; the High Representative serves as the head of the European Defence Agency and exercises the same functions over the Common Security and Defence Policy as the CFSP. On 1 December 2009, Catherine Ashton took over Javier Solana's post as the High Representative, who has held the post since 1999. On 30 August 2014 it was announced by Herman Van Rompuy that Federica Mogherini would be the new High Representative, effective on 1 November 2014. There a
History of the European Coal and Steel Community (1945–1957)
The period saw the first moves towards European unity as the first bodies began to be established in the aftermath of the Second World War. In 1951 the first community, the European Coal and Steel Community was established and moves on new communities began. Early attempts at military and political unity failed leading to the Treaties of Rome in 1957; the Second World War from 1939 to 1945 saw an unprecedented human and economic cost, in which Europe was affected severely through the totality of modern warfare and large scale massacres such as the Holocaust. Once again, there was a widespread desire amongst European governments to ensure it could never happen again with the war giving the world nuclear weapons and two ideologically opposed superpowers. In 1946, war-time British Prime Minister Winston Churchill spoke at the University of Zurich on "The tragedy of Europe", he described the first step to a "USE" as a "Council of Europe". London would, in 1949, be the location for the signing of the Treaty of London, establishing the separate entity of the Council of Europe.
In 1948, the Congress of Europe was convened in the Hague, under Winston Churchill's chairmanship, by the European unification movements. It was the first time all the movements had come together under one roof and attracted a myriad of statesmen including many who would become known as founding fathers of the European Union; the congress discussed the formation of a new Council of Europe and led to the establishment of the European Movement and the College of Europe, however it exposed a division between unionist and federalist supporters. This unionist-federalist divide was reflected in the establishment of the Council of Europe in 1949; the Council was designed with two main political bodies, one composed of governments, the other of national members of parliament. Based in Strasbourg, it is an organisation dealing with human rights issues. With the start of the Cold War, the Treaty of Brussels was signed in 1948, it expanded upon the Dunkirk Treaty, a military pact between France and the United Kingdom who were concerned about the threat from the USSR following the communist take over in Czechoslovakia.
The new treaty included the Benelux countries and was to promote cooperation not only in the military matters but in economic and cultural spheres. These roles however were taken over by other organisations. In 1954 it would be amended by the Paris Agreements which created the Western European Union which would take on European defence and be merged into the EU in decades; however the signatories of the Brussels treaty realised their common defence was not enough against the USSR. However wider solidarity, such as that seen over the Berlin Blockade in 1949, was seen to provide sufficient deterrent. Hence in 1949 the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation was created, it expanded the Brussels treaty members to include Denmark, Italy, Portugal as well as Canada and most notably the United States. Military integration in NATO sped up following the first Soviet atomic bomb test and the start of the Korean War which prompted a desire for the inclusion of West Germany. In the same year as the Brussels treaty, Sweden plans for a Scandinavian defence union which would be neutral in regards to the proposed NATO.
However, due to pressure from the United States and Denmark joined NATO and the plans collapsed. Although a "‘Scandinavian joint committee for economic cooperation" was established which led to a customs union under the Nordic Council which held its first meeting in 1953. Similar economic activity was taking place between the Benelux countries; the Benelux Customs Union became operative between Belgium and Luxembourg. During the war, the three governments in exile signed a customs convention between their countries; this followed a monetary agreement. This integration would lead to an economic union and the countries cooperating in foreign affairs as the union was out of a desire to strengthen their position as small states; however the Benelux became a precursor and provided ground for European integration. Robert Schuman, as Prime Minister of France 1947-8 and Foreign Minister 1948–53 but changed the Gaullist policy in Europe which aimed at weakening Germany and permanently taking over part of its borderlands.
He gained increasing support for this policy both in the French Assembly and with European public opinion but it was fiercely opposed both by Gaullists and by Communists, inside other parties including his own. On 9 May 1950, the French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman made his Schuman declaration at the Quai d'Orsay, he proposed that: "Franco-German production of coal and steel as a whole be placed under a common High Authority, within the framework of an organisation open to the participation of the other countries of Europe." Such an act was intended to help economic growth and cement peace between France and Germany, longtime enemies. Coal and steel were particular symbolic, it would be a first step to a "European federation". It is no longer a question of vain words but of a constructive act. France has acted and the consequences of its action can be immense. We hope they