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Schuman announces creation of new world system
Extracts from Strasbourg speech given in full in French and English in book: Schuman or Monnet? the real Architect of Europe. ISBN: 0952727641.


Strasbourg, Festival Hall, 16 May 1949.
Schuman announces the century of supranational communities as Europeans' duty to save humanity from the scourge of selfish nationalism, typified by the calamities of the twentieth century. This prophetic speech follows the signing of the Statutes of the Council of Europe on 5 May 1949 at St James's Palace, London where Schuman also told Europe's foreign ministers that a supranational union should be the foundation for the future. Schuman described the new governance system, the supranational, and gave the system its name, the European Community, in these speeches. It is clear from this speech that the supranational governance system has general application to other troubled populations of our planet who desire peace and are willing to live under its democratic rule of law.

"We are carrying out a great experiment, the fulfillment of the same recurrent dream that for ten centuries has revisited the peoples of Europe: creating between them an organization putting an end to war and guaranteeing an eternal peace. The Roman church of the Middle Ages failed finally in its attempts that were inspired by humane and human preoccupations. Another idea, that of a world empire constituted under the auspices of German emperors was less disinterested; it already relied on the unacceptable pretensions of a ‘Führertum’ (domination by dictatorship) whose 'charms' we have all experienced.

Audacious minds, such as Dante, Erasmus, Abbé de St-Pierre, Rousseau, Kant and Proudhon, had created in the abstract the framework for systems that were both ingenious and generous. The title of one of these systems became the synonym of all that is impractical: Utopia, itself a work of genius, written by Thomas More, the Chancellor of Henry VIII, King of England.
Today,  the commencement {of the Council of Europe} is characterized by a timorousness which many people will find disappointing. In this period while our States have not yet consented to renouncing any part of their sovereignty, and, when they make international decisions, they do not submit themselves willingly to each other as an engagement that they are fully observing their decisions, the debates of the Parliamentary Assembly {of the Council of Europe} can still have a moral and psychological effect. At least I hope so. They can influence the Governments and national Parliaments but they will create by themselves neither rights nor obligations.

We are still at the start of things. We would do well to bridle our impatience. If not, we are likely to make the doubters more distrustful and what is more serious, endanger not only the experiment but also the whole idea of a united Europe.

At the signature of the Statutes of the Council of Europe, I recalled to everyone’s mind that that we do not yet have a definition of Europe as recognized by everybody. I believed that I was then able to claim that in thus laying the first bricks of an organization, Europe is now beginning to define herself, without the aid of scholars and academics, who I fear, will never be able to agree amongst themselves. ... I do not have any intention of drawing a geographical line of demarcation between Europe and ‘non-Europe’. There is another valid way of setting limits: that which distinguishes those who have the European spirit and those who do not.

The European spirit signifies being conscious of belonging to a cultural family and to have a willingness to serve that community in the spirit of total mutuality, without any hidden motives of hegemony or the selfish exploitation of others. The 19th century saw feudal ideas being opposed and, with the rise of a national spirit, nationalities asserting themselves. Our century, that has witnessed the catastrophes resulting in the unending clash of nationalities and nationalisms, must attempt and succeed in reconciling nations in a supranational association. This would safeguard the diversities and aspirations of each nation while coordinating them in the same manner as the regions are coordinated within the unity of the nation.

All of us, whether we are individuals or collectivities, have to undergo an apprenticeship in the European spirit. France is giving an example of it. Her voice spoke out first and most effectively for ... Europe.

It remains for me to raise a special problem for the French and for the peoples of Alsace and Lorraine in particular. That is the place that will be reserved for Germany in the European organization. Nobody can imagine excluding Germany from it. On the contrary, I think that when it comes to the German problem there is only one solution: the European solution.

Following the First World War, the German problem dominated the debate on peace and security. We find ourselves today confronted with two problems: the German problem and the Russian enigma. According to whatever position we adopt, according to the geographic standpoint that we occupy, one or other of the two problems may mask, magnify or diminish the other. ... That’s what makes them both complex. We cannot resolve one without the other.

For Germany we must find a valid and acceptable solution. If not, she threatens to become less an object of her definitive postwar division but more an object of contention, dangerous as much for the character of Germany as for the peace of Europe. It would be a mistake, an unforgivable mistake after the failure of Allied policy in the wake of the First World War, if we would isolate Germany and keep it indefinitely under a regime of coercion and prohibitions. ...

There is a danger for us of aggravating German unemployment and thus provoking a nationalist resurgence in a country that should be working not only for her own needs but for the reconstruction of Europe. What is needed is to place German production at the service of the European Community. We need to insert Germany inside the framework comprising all the European countries and to reserve for her a part of our joint tasks. We can thus communicate the European spirit to her, not in a tone of domination but in one imbuing peaceful cooperation.

This is another experiment that we are undertaking. It does not require us, I repeat, to dispense with any of the measures of protection or security compatible with the re-establishment of a normal life between neighbors.

This policy, which is far removed from all emotionalism and passions, does not require us to forget the past or be careless about the future. It must be and must always be based on both reason and on experience. This new policy ... constitutes probably the supreme attempt to save our Continent and preserve the world from suicide."

(emphasis added)
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