Son of a Cologne civil servant, held the post of
Mayor of Cologne from 1917 to 1933. He lost his office with the Nazis and after
growing problems, he finished in a concentration camp in 1944.
Member of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), . In 1949 he became chairman of
the party in West Germany; and in the first general elections under the new
regime, his party and its ally, the Christian Social Union (CSU), together won
139 of the 402 seats in the Bundestag (Federal Parliament). In 1949, he was
appointed as chancellor.
During Adenauer's term in power, very important events took place in West
Germany: in 1950, membership of the Council of Europe, founder member of the
ECSC, after the failure of EDC, West Germany was recognised as a sovereign state
and was admitted to the NATO. Finally, in 1957, Germany was one of the founder
members of the EEC.
Reelected in 1953, 1957 and 1961. In 1963, after achieving a treaty of
cooperation with General de Gaulle's France, Adenauer resigned. Erhard succeeded
him as a chancellor, although Adenauer remained chairman of the CDU until March
1966. He died in April 1967.
This politician from Luxembourg was one of the
founding fathers of European Communities. In 1955, he presided over the Messina
Conference that preceded the signing of the treaty of Rome in 1957.
Leader of the
Labour Party from 1994, in a landslide victory, he put an end to 18 years of
Conservative governments. He has introduced in Brithis politics a new more
pro-European approach, after the out-and-out euroscepticism of Margaret Thatcher.
After a second electoral victory, he has promised to move its country into the
Euro area. A referendum will be held on the accession to the European currency.
A supporter of the
labour-union movement, Briand emerged as a leader in the French Socialist Party
in 1894. He was elected to the Chamber of Deputies in 1902. In the next thirty
years he was premier of France and a cabinet Minister innumerable times. In 1906
when he joined Sarrien's bourgeois government, he was expelled from the
Briand led his nation during World War I for eighteen critical months from
October 1915, to March 1917. When he resumed as premier in January of 1921,
retaining for himself the portfolio for foreign affairs, he tried to obtain a
settlement of the reparations issue; represented France at the Washington Arms
Conference; and negotiated a security pact with Lloyd George at Cannes in 1922,
resigning when he failed to obtain its ratification.
Recalled to the foreign ministry by Painlevé in 1925, Briand now entered upon
five and a half years of highly successful diplomacy. On 16 October 1925, Briand,
as foreign Minister, initialled and on December 1, as premier, signed the
Locarno Pact. On 27 August 1928, at the Quai d'Orsay, fifteen nations signed the
Pact of Paris, or Kellogg-Briand Pact, for the renunciation of war. In the next
year Kellogg joined Briand in the ranks of Nobel Peace Prize laureates.
The last major proposal Briand offered to the world was his sweeping concept of
a European Union outlined in a memorandum to twenty-six nations in May 1930. In
September the proposal was presented to the League of Nations, but when Briand
was not re-appointed to the foreign ministry after Premier Laval's resignation
in January 1932, the proposal languished.
Briand died quite unexpectedly on 7 March 1932.
who as Prime Minister (1940–45, 1951–55) rallied the British people during World
War II and led his country from the brink of defeat to victory.
Surprisingly, he and his Conservative party were defeated by Labour in May 1945
election. Shocked heavily by the rejection of his nation, Churchill devoted to
Two central themes had his postwar view of the world: the need for Britain and
the United States to unite as guardians of the peace against the menace of
Soviet Communism, which had brought down an “iron curtain” across the face of
Europe; and with equal fervour he emerged as an advocate of European union. In
1946, both proposals were put forward in wo celebrated speeches in Fulton (USA)
and Zurich (Switzerland)
Son of a
Austro-Hungarian count and diplomat, and a Japanese.
After World War I, realizing the tragedy which was taking place in Europe,
Coudenhove-Kalergi set out a fight for the unity of Europe. His first book -in
fact a manifesto- titled Pan-Europa was published in 1923, and each copy
contained a membership form which invited the reader to become a member of
Pan-Europa movement. Thus, Coudenhove-Kalergi is the founder of the first
grassroots movement for the European unity. The movement held its first Congress
in Vienna in 1926. The following year Aristide Briand was elected honorary
president. Major personalities of European culture, as Einstein, Thomas Mann,
Freud, Rilke, Unamuno, Madariaga, Ortega y Gasset and Adenauer, belonged to Pan-
The French statesman Edouard Herriot writes in his book "The United States of
"A large body among the leading spirits of Europe's youth devotes itself today
to the achievement of the lofty teachings of Kant. At the head of this
intellectual group it is only fair to put Count Richard N. Coudenhove-Kalergi,
the man who has certainly done most in recent years for European federation".
DE GASPERI, Alcide
Prime Minister of Italy (1945–53) who contributed to the material and moral
reconstruction of his nation after World War II. In those days, he met often
with Robert Schuman and Konrad Adenauer setting up the conditions of ulterior
advancements in the European integration.
De Gasperi was elected deputy to the Italian parliament in 1921 as one of the
founders of the Italian Popular Party (Partito Popolare Italiano; PPI). Hostile
to the fascists, in 1927 he was arrested and sentenced to four years
Active in the resistance during World War II, he succeeded in reorganising the
PPI as the Christian Democratic Party (CDP). He became secretary of the CDP.
Minister of foreign affairs in the two succeeding cabinets, De Gasperi formed
his own cabinet on Dec. 10, 1945. He was to remain in office for more than seven
In foreign affairs he fought to restore an influential role in international
politics for Italy. Seeking closer ties with the West, Italy entered the NATO in
1951. A leading proponent of the formation of a federation of democratic
European states, he helped organise the Council of Europe and the European Coal
and Steel Community (1951).
DE GAULLE, Charles
Son of a teacher
of philosophy and literature at a Jesuit college, De Gaulle graduated from the
École Militaire of Saint-Cyr in 1912.
After the overwhelming French defeat in 1940, he soon became the very symbol of
the entire Resistance against the Nazi invaders. After the war, De Gaulle was
unanimously elected president of the provisional government in October 1945. De
Gaulle disapproved of the constitution of the Fourth Republic, adopted in
October 1946, and he returned to his country home at Colombey-les-Deux-Eglises
to write his war memoirs.
The Fourth Republic, despite economic prosperity, faced an insoluble colonial
war in Algeria. Civil war threatened in the continuing crisis, and political
leaders of various persuasions turned to de Gaulle as the one person who could
avert disaster. On June 1, 1958, the National Assembly named de Gaulle premier
and granted him wide emergency powers, including the right to prepare a new
constitution to be submitted to a popular referendum.
In international affairs President de Gaulle asserted France's independence of
all outside control, calling for policies that would make France and Europe
independent of the two superpowers, the United States and the USSR. He refused
to admit Britain into his European scheme and blocked Britain's effort to join
the European Economic Community (Common Market). In 1965, Charles de Gaulle
instructed all French representatives on the Council of Ministers to boycott
meetings, and withdrew his country's representative from Brussels. This protest
against various operations within the Council, which became known as the Empty
Chair Crisis ("chaise vide"), was ended in January 1966 with the Luxembourg
Europe, in his view, would sooner or later extend beyond the boundaries of the
EEC or the division into western and eastern blocs, and finally in the world,
where he foresaw the gradual dissolution of the two great blocs. This is what De
Gaulle called Europe from the Atlantic to the Urals.
time as President of the European Commission (1885-1995) was a period which saw
great changes and unprecedented development towards European Union.
Born in Paris in 1925, Delors immediately entered the world of finance working
in the Banque de France. He deeply engaged in trade union movement and rose to
prominence as a Christian activist. He joined Socialist Part. As a Socialist
candidate, he was elected to the European Parliament in 1979 and appointed
chairman of the Monetary Affairs Committee.
When Socialist Party came to power and Mitterrand became president in 1981,
Delors was appointed Finance Minister.
His term as President began in 1985. He was the single most influential
President of the European Union to date. Under Delors, an Intergovernmental
Conference resulted in the signing of the Single European Act (SEA) in 1986.
Then in the so-called Paquet Delors, he proposed budgetary reforms and changes
to structural fund distribution.
After the approval of the Paquet Delors, Delors started to focus on the subject
of Economic and Monetary Union, producing a three stage scheme that was
eventually ratified as part of the Maastricht Treaty.
His final years in the post were marked by severe difficulties within the Union:
the rejection of the Maastricht Treaty following the Danish referendum in June
1992, and the crisis in the European Monetary System that caused that plans for
Monetary Union were delayed.
His term as President ended in January 1995.
over the German delegation that negotiated the Plan Schuman, 1st January 1958 he
became the first president of the European Commission. He maintained in that
post until 1968.
As president of the European Commission, Hallstein worked towards a rapid
realisation of the Common Market. His energetic enthusiasm and his powers of
persuasion furthered the cause of integration even beyond the period of his
presidency. However, the speed of unification during the so-called Hallstein
Period was legendary.
During his mandate, De Gaulle vetoed British accesion to the EEC. In 1965, a
proposition of Hallstein, supported by the European Parliament, on the founding
of own funds of the Community was also vetoed by the French president. The
crisis of the "empty chair" followed. The absence of the French Ministers
paralysed the Community. The Luxembourg Compromise put an end to the crisis.
Minister of Great Britain from 1970 to 1974.
He served as Labour Minister in the government of Prime Minister Harold
Macmillan from October 1959 to July 1960, when he became Lord Privy Seal with
Foreign Office responsibilities. In this capacity he represented Britain in
negotiations for entry into the European Economic Community.
His party won a victory in the election of June 1970. As Prime Minister, Heath
scored a major triumph by winning French acceptance of British entry into the
European Economic Community in 1972–73. He proved unable, however, to cope with
Britain's mounting economic problems. He called for a general election in 1974.
The Conservatives lost seats in the Commons to Labour and he was succeeded by
Harold Wilson on March 4. After the Conservatives were defeated in another
general election in October, Heath was replaced as party leader by Margaret
Thatcher in 1975.
Germany, Helmut Kohl, contributed decidedly to the process of Europea
integration, throughout his fifteen years in office. During this time, apart
from overseeing the German unification, EEC enlarged and treaties such as the
Single European Act, Maasticht and Amsterdam were signed.
Helmut Kohl was only three years old when Nazism came to power, so he can been
considered a after-nazi period politician. After involvement in politics at a
regional level, he became leader of the Christian Democratic Union in 1973.
Finally, after some electoral failures, Kohl was appointed Chancellor of West
Germany in 1982.
Kohl was always emphatically pro-European, constantly pushing for a united
Europe to ally Germany with its former enemies. As the leader of the main
economic power in Europe, Kohl played an integral and influential role in the
affairs of the European Community throughout his time as Chancellor.
In 1990 Kohl became deeply involved in the unification of Germany, and when it
was finally realised he became the first Chancellor of post-war unified Germany.
His convictions on European integration were greatly influenced by Adenauer, who
strove to form strong links within Europe following the divisions created by
second World War. Kohl followed by prioritising relations between West European
and East European countries and becoming a force behind the drive for European
He was finally defeated in the 1998 election by Socialist Gerhard Schröder.
Henceforth, he and the CDU have been severely damaged by an election fund
who was Prime Minister from January 1957 to October 1963.
He was appointed Prime Minister on Jan. 10, 1957, following the resignation of
Eden in the wake of the Suez crisis, and was elected leader of the Conservative
Party 12 days later. After tough debates inside the Conservative Party, he
finally put forward British candidature to access to EEC. This demand was vetoed
by French president, Charles De Gaulle.
who served two terms (1981–95) as president, leading his country to closer
political and economic integration with western Europe. The first socialist to
hold the office after World War II.
After being elected as first secretary of the Socialist Party in 1971,
Mitterrand started a major party reorganisation, which increased its electoral
His strategy of making the Socialist Party the majority party of the left while
still allied with the Communist Party led to the upset Socialist victory of May
10, 1981, when he defeated the incumbent president, Valéry Giscard d'Estaing.
All his mandate, but mainly his second term (1988-1985)was marked by vigorous
efforts to promote European unity and to avoid German economic domination of
France by binding both countries into strong European institutions. Mitterrand
was thus a leading proponent of the Treaty on European Union (1991), which
provided for a centralised European banking system, a common currency, and a
unified foreign policy.
He died shortly after leaving his post in the presidency of France.
ORTEGA Y GASSET,
philosopher and humanist who greatly influenced the cultural and literary
renaissance of Spain in the 20th century.
In 1929, he published his most celebrated book La Rebelión de las Masas (The
Revolt of the Masses), in which he advocated building an European Union.
Minister of Luxembourg, Jacques Santer came to the presidency of the European
Commission (1995-1999) as a compromise choice. He was selected for a five-year
term by the European Council. Santer was drafted after Major had vetoed the
selection of Belgian Prime Minister Jean-Luc Dehaene, whose candidacy had been
advanced by France and Germany.
After a row of corruption problems, he resigned, and with him all the members of
the Commission, in 1999.
Born in Luxembourg,
Schuman was technically a German national, as his father was from German-held
Lorraine. Having served as an auxiliary with the German army during the World
War I, Schuman became an official French citizen after Lorraine reverted to
France in 1918, and went on to play a leading role in French politics. A good
example for explaining the history of Europe.
He studied law before launching his political career in 1919, when he
represented Thionville in the French National Assembly.
Schuman was elected Prime Minister in 1947 as a member of the Mouvement
Républicain Populaire (MRP), and held the post of Foreign Minister from 1948
It was during this time that he presented the proposal which was to lay the
foundations for a European Union. On 9 May 1950, following collaboration with
Jean Monnet, Robert Schuman put forward a proposal for a body which would
jointly manage the French and German coal and steel industries. This proposal to
pool resources formed the basis for the European Coal and Steel Community which
was subsequently established in 1951. It became known as the Schuman plan.
As Europe progressed towards integration, two further organisations were
established - the European Atomic Energy Community and the European Economic
Community. When a Joint Assembly was formed in 1958, which later became the
European Parliament, Robert Schuman was elected its first president.
Robert Schuman's role in creating the European Union is commemorated annually on
9 May .
SPAAK, Paul Henri
and Socialist leader. He held various cabinet posts over 30 years (1935-1965)
and served almost continually as foreign Minister from 1938 to 1949. A moderate
Socialist, Spaak was three times premier (1938-39, 1946, 1947-49). He was again
foreign Minister from 1954 to 1957, and he resumed that post from 1961 to 1966,
serving also as vice premier (1961-65).
Spaak acquired international stature as first president of the General Assembly
of the United Nations (1946), chairman of the Council for European Recovery
(1948-49), and secretary-general of NATO (1957-61).
In both national and international posts Spaak strove for the political and
economic unification of Western Europe, and he was active in the creation of the
organisations that have since become the European Union.
In 1950, he was elected president of the OEEC and the Council of Europe, and two
years later, he chaired the Assembly of ECSC. He presided over the Conference of
Messina, where the foreign Ministers of "the Six" made the definitive step who
led to the Treaty of Rome.
(1907-1986) founded the Movimento Federalista Europeo (European Federalist
Movement) on 27-28 August 1943 in Milan. He joined the Italian Communist Party
at a very early age. Arrested in 1927, he spent ten years in prison and six in
confinement. During his confinement at Ventotene, he abandoned communism and
embraced federalism. Along with other colleagues, he drew up the Ventotene
Manifesto in 1941. Spinelli soon realised that the battle for the European
federation required the creation of anew type of political organisation, immune
to national fetishes and the limitations of traditional ideologies.
In the early fifties, the campaigning of Spinelli and the MFE toward the Italian
government proved decisive in making the European constituent question the
central issue in the intergovernmental negotiations for the creation of the
European Defence Community (EDC), but its work was frustrated by France's
refusal to ratify the EDC in 1954. Despite this setback, between 1954 and 1960
Spinelli and the MFE re-launched the federalist struggle. However, Spinelli
quitted the MFE in the 60s.
From 1976 to 1986 he was a member of the European Parliament, becoming President
of its Institutional Commission in 1984. From that post, he promoted the
elaboration of a Draft Treaty establishing the European Union. This project was
aproved of by a huge majority on 14 February 1984. This initiative was blocked
and shelved by the national governments, which in 1985 passed the less ambitious
Single European Act. However, it marked the entrance of the European Parliament
onto the European scene as a new political actor in the process of democratising
the Community's institutions.
Spinelli died in Rome on 23rd May 1986.
Conservative Party politician and Prime Minister (1979–90), Europe's first woman
Prime Minister. The only British Prime Minister in the 20th century to win three
consecutive terms and, at the time of her resignation, Britain's longest
continuously serving Prime Minister since 1827,she accelerated the evolution of
the British economy from statism to liberalism and became, by personality as
much as achievement, the most renowned British political leader since Winston
The second half of Thatcher's tenure was marked by an inextinguishable
controversy over Britain's relationship with the European Community. In 1984 she
succeeded, amid fierce opposition, in drastically reducing Britain's
contribution to the EC budget. After her third electoral victory in 1987, she
adopted a steadily more hostile attitude toward European integration. She
resisted federalist continental trends toward both a single currency and a
deeper political union.
In September 1988, she pronounced the celebrated "Bruges Speech", which summed
up her mounting eurosceptic stage,
Her traditionally pro-European party became divided, and a string of senior
Ministers, foreign Minister Sir Geoffrey Howe among them, left the Cabinet over
On 22 November 1990, she announced her resignation as Conservative Party leader
and Prime Minister, paving the way for her replacement by John Major six days
Henceforth, Europe became a continuous point of disagreement inside the
Conservative Party. Many observers highlight that this endless internal fight is
one of the main causes of the Tory party decadence in the last years. Ms.
Thatcher has not doubted in sticking to her hostile attitude toward EU.
in Luxembourg. A lawyer, he held various major posts from World War II. He
became Prime Minister in 1959. Named chairman of the European Community's
Committee on Monetary Union in 1970, he was instrumental in coordinating the
member countries' economic and monetary policies. He presented a scheme to the
Commission and the national governments, which was the base for the definitive
plan passed on 22 March 1971.
Although the world monetary crisis in 1971 and the economic crisis in 1973
braked the project, it was finally accomplished by founding the European
Monetary System in 1979.