Europe still needs Schuman

DISCLAIMER: All opinions in this column reflect the views of the author(s), not of EURACTIV Media network.

"History teaches us that the EU progresses through crises, and we can but hope that history repeats itself," writes Stanley Crossick, founding director of the European Policy Centre, in a May post on Blogactiv.

The following blog post was authored by Stanley Crossick. 

"The Schuman Plan of 9 May 1950 heralded 60 years of peace, stability and prosperity.

One death in Sarajevo in 1914 led to millions of deaths in Europe; thousands of deaths in Sarajevo in the 1990s did not for one moment affect the stability of western Europe.

Much has changed during these 60 years in Europe and in the world. The EU must adapt to the changing circumstances. However, the principles of the EU founding fathers remain valid – the voluntary pooling of sovereignty, the identification of the common interest and the solving together of common problems.

'Europe will not be made all at once, or according to a single plan. It will be built through concrete achievements which first create a de facto solidarity. The coming together of the nations of Europe requires the elimination of the age-old opposition of France and Germany. Any action taken must in the first place concern these two countries.'

60 years on, it is true that the European Union is no longer integrating further in the direction it needs. The Franco-German relationship is not as close as it was. Solidarity is lacking. The euro is at risk without economic and greater political union. We don't yet have CFSP.

Much is wrong with he way the EU is organised and managed, but most of the blame lies with member-state leaders who blame their own failings on 'Brussels' and whose egos often hinder effective cooperation. As my colleague Max Kohstamm, the last living founding father, says: the EU is divided into two groups of countries, those who know they are small and those who do not.

We should not be surprised that Brussels is not popular in the member states. After all, what happens in Brussels is largely due to member-state leaders, who lack support or credibility in most of their countries.

We are squandering the benefits of the Lisbon Treaty through national egotism, turf wars and weak Commission leadership. Parliament is defending the Commission's position more strongly than it defends itself.

However, history teaches us that the EU progresses through crises, and we can but hope that history repeats itself."

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