In this session, our youth were introduced to a somewhat more exhaustive information than what they receive at school, about the origins of the EU, as a by-product of World War II and the urgent need for peace and prosperity in Europe. Jean Monnet’s seminal role as a pioneer who inspired the unification of France and Germany under one logo for national Coal and Steel production and Schuman, another key figure in the birth of the EU, promoted the mindset of overcoming Franco-German divisions as there could be no peace in Europe if the focus was only on narrow national interests. Thus, the first agreement was born, the Treaty of Paris (1951) for the establishment of the European Coal and Steel Community by 6 countries:
This community was defined as an Authority that would also have a Court for settling disputes, drafting laws and making decisions. First for minerals, then for nuclear energy. A milestone for the shaping of today’s union was the European Economic Treaty that defined a common market for these countries and the way of making decisions by a qualified majority of votes (2/3).
Great Britain, Denmark and Ireland were the first 3 to join the community, increasing it to 9 members and expanding the range of common interest of the new community. Thus, joint attention began on issues such as agriculture, subsidies and taxes, the common market, and then the first discussions about the European Parliament, the European Council, the principles of political integration of the European community, free movement, the fall of the Berlin Wall that highlighted the development disparity of Eastern Europe compared to the Western one and recently the quasi final shaping of the EU through the Maastricht Treaty.
And in addition to the linear history, we also took our time at some special moments in terms of the internal debate in the face of difficulties that called for further reform, such as the pause of several years of the union, the dilemmas of the sovereignty of the states, the Treaty of Lisbon, the a+rrival of Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy, the exit of Great Britain from the union, among +others.
Although the above is only the first minutes of the entire session, 2 hours is still too little to deal with a topic so rich in history and presentation of facts. We tried with our lecturer to make the time spent together as valuable as possible in a necessary and essential discussion for our youth political education program with a focus on the process of our country’s membership in the #EU.