Friday, July 4, 2014

EU Founder Jean Monnet and European Federalism

EU Founder Jean Monnet and European Federalism

Photo of Jean Monnet father of the European Union smiling and sitting in a chair with papers underneath his hands.
Jean Monnet Father of the EU

The EU regards Jean Monnet as the father of the EU. According to Richard Mayne's and John Pinder's Book, Federal Union: The Pioneers: A History of Federal Union, which provides a detailed account of the history of the European Union, Monnet was Born in 1988, his family worked as wine growers. He long remained anonymous despite his accomplishments. He held no political office and had no special training in any field. Some experts listed him as an economist.

In 1919, the Treaty of Versailles established the League of Nations. Monnet became its Deputy Secretary General. Europe experienced the devastation of two world wars under the dictatorships of Hitler and Mussolini. Economic crisis and unemployment marked postwar Europe. The United States and the Soviet Union emerged in much stronger positions. Monnet believed that the countries of Europe should unite to bring freedom and prosperity to their continent. He viewed national sovereignty as out dated. He noted that it prevented Europe from keeping pace in the age of the superpowers.

During the Kennedy era, growth in the EU slackened due to de Gaulle's nationalism and anti-American sentiments. According to Mayne and Pinder, He called the US, "the unwanted federator of an integrated Europe." They went onto state in their book that to refute this, Kennedy called for joint interdependence. At Kennedy's speech in St. Paul's Church of Frankfurt in 1963, he expressed satisfaction with a United Europe. He stated: "It would be a world power, capable of dealing with the US on equal footing in every domain."

After de Gaulle's departure, Jean Monnet's idea of building up the European Union as a partner of the United States gained popularity. European federalists began to consider how a federal Europe might help to build a wider union of democracies. This would act as a step on the long road to world federation. The linking of militarily, politically and economically large trading blocs or regional groups of countries. would serve as an example for other regions, and could finally lead to a world community.

The Federalist movement in Europe's ideas mirrored Monnet's. Jean Monnet, the EU's founder, did not follow a federalist blue-print. In 1976, the European Council made Jean Monnet an "Honorary Citizen of Europe." In March of 1979, Monnet died. As the European Document entitled "Jean Monnet, a Grand Design For Europe," states:

His message has the force of all simple ideas. Instead of wasting time and energy in trying to apportion blame for a horrific war, the countries of Europe should combine to bring freedom and prosperity to their continent. The imperative of the age was to bring economies together, to merge interests, to make the means of production more efficient in a world dominated by competitiveness and progress. Monnet's message went to the root of national sovereignty which he argued was outmoded if it prevented Europe from keeping pace with the times in the age of superpowers.