Who was Robert Schuman?
“Europe will not be made at one go, nor in an overall construction: it will be made through concrete achievements that create real solidarity”
Robert Schuman (1886-1963) was a French statesman and one of the founding fathers of the European Communities.
Born in Luxembourg of a German father, he became a lawyer in Metz. As a result of the transfer of Lorraine from Germany to France in 1918, Schuman became a French citizen, and was elected to the French Parliament. Throughout his political career he was a militant social Catholic, and belonged to parties of the Christian Democrat family.
From 1946 to 1955 he was a member of French governments, as Finance Minister, Prime Minister, Foreign Minister and Justice Minister. Later he was the first President of the European Parliament, and President of the European Movement.
In a Declaration on 9 May 1950 as Foreign Minister he launched the 'Schuman Plan' proposing a supranational Community for coal and steel, based on a new European legal order. It led to the creation in 1951 of the European Coal and Steel Community, which was the precursor of the European Economic Community in 1956 and the European Union in 1993.
An internationalist by experience and conviction, Schuman was a visionary and a realist. His speeches and writings have had a lasting influence on European integration.
‘Europe Day' celebrated on 9 May commemorates Schuman’s 1950 Declaration.