Jean Monnet's Speech
Born in 1888 in Cognac,
Jean Monnet spent much of his youth in his father's cognac business. During
World War I , he worked in Britain, organising supplies and fostering economic
cooperation between France and Britain. As a result of his efforts in this job,
he was appointed Deputy Secretary General in the League of Nations in 1920.
Three years later, however, he gave in his notice and returned to work in the
During the Second
World War Monnet came back to work in the area of international economic
cooperation again. He conceived a plan for a union between France and Britain
which was signed by De Gaulle and Churchill in 1940.
After the war, Monnet
was named Planning Commissioner, and became responsible for economic
reconstruction in France. He began working on a scheme that he eventually
proposed to Robert Schuman, the French Foreign Minister, in 1949. The Monnet
Memorandum, as this plan is known, was the basis for the European Coal and Steel
Community (ECSC), and Monnet himself became the first President of the High
Authority, which later evolved into the European Commission.
extensively on a European Defence Community, eventually rejected by the French
Parliament, he founded the Action Committee for the United States of Europe. He
continued working for European integration until his death in 1979.
To a great extent, the
process of European integration has followed the approach made up by Monnet in
1949. To integrate gradually more and more economic areas in order to pave the
way to the final objective: political union. Jean Monnet died in 1979.