In order to surmount the challenges facing post war Europe the Foreign Minister of the Republic of France suggested on 9th May 1950 breaking away in an almost revolutionary fashion from the firmly established rules of nationalism which had in the past resulted in so many wars. Robert Schuman suggested pooling the wealth of the things we had been fighting over which at that time were coal and steel, so vital for reconstruction.
This is the anniversary we are celebrating: the movement of unification of the European continent was born on this day. Since then there has been a continuous drive forwards. It has enabled the countries of Europe to enjoy an unequalled standard of life. The fall of the Berlin Wall on 9th November 1989 changed the state of play and heralded the start of unexpected globalisation. Hitherto deprived countries now had access to increasingly disputed wealth; populations now trade and communicate before issuing diktats; the world has changed in terms of scale and humanity is benefiting from this.We would be lying if we said that these changes were easy to understand, organise and control. They require a great amount of adaptation. This also applies to Europe.
But today Robert Schuman's message remains surprisingly topical. By rising above horizons and our customs which are obviously narrow, we shall find the means to adapt to new approaches. The European Union now finds itself at a crossroads. It must gauge the new challenges carefully and provide concrete answers. But we are Europe, each of our States, of our fellow citizens. We can do what we want if we accept to rise above the frontiers of conventional logic and the politically correct. It is time to make Europe ours.
This is why we must celebrate Europe; because the recent past and its series of successes, of which peace and prosperity are the utmost, deserve this; because the economic and political future still has to be achieved by an increased unification of Europe i.e. via more transfers of sovereignty, the pooling of our strengths and advantages. We shall do it out of necessity. So why shouldn't we be visionary and courageous and put this idea forward with greater determination?