A Brill Calendar: May 9
"The Council of Europe"
Few French Ministers of Foreign Affairs put an office-term to better use than Robert Schuman (Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg, June 29 1886 – Metz, France September 4 1963).
Between July 1948 and December 1952 his ‘palmares’ features three feats which would have been the envy of the man who was a keeper of that office 135 years earlier: Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord (1754 – 1838), without whom France most probably wouldn’t have survived as a nation, after the ‘déconfiture’ of Napoleon’s Great Gamble.
Schuman’s first achievement – among three – is the signing of Statutes for a ‘Council of Europe’, at Saint James’s, London, on May 5 1949: a new institute, reflecting Schuman’s longing for a pan-European, supranational democratic union, after two tragic European Wars large enough to engulf the world. The third and last attainment also involved signing documents, resulting in the Treaty of Paris, Wednesday April 18 1951, an unprecedented European coordination in producing coal & steel, necessary ingredients for warfare.
In the middle, linking both, is the ‘Schuman Declaration’, Tuesday May 9 1950, a powerful plea for international idealism; a calendar day soon thereafter celebrated as ‘The Day of Europe’. It is seldom that momentous events associated with releases of documents are not reduced to one single calendar date, to one single place and to one single person. It should be considered that without Bernard Clappier, Jean Monnet, Paul Reuter and others the Declaration & Day wouldn’t have come into being.
Nor should Robert Schuman be reduced to three different diplomatic successes. Behind these handy tags on Europe’s past stands a staunch Roman-Catholic, living all his life in celibacy; his first thirty-three years as a German subject, with a ‘Weltanschauung’ of an accomplished biblical scholar, an expert on Thomas Aquinas, and an intellectual rejecting on Christian grounds both fascism and communism. Men are called ‘Father of Europe’ for less.
2013, May 17
2013, April 11
2013, April 11