“World peace cannot be safeguarded without the making of creative efforts”
From the very beginning, European integration strived to strengthen world peace. Already during World War II, a united Europe was seen by some as the only antidote to the dangers posed by nationalism.
One of the most remarkable achievements of the last 70 years of European integration has been to eradicate the possibility of war between European countries, that have long characterised the history of the continent.
Hans-Gert Pöttering (DE),
President of the European Parliament 2007-2009. HAEU, INT 796
Margaret Brusasco-Mackenzie (UK),
European Commission official 1981-1999. HAEU, INT 114
The Ventotene Manifesto
The Manifesto “Towards a Free and United Europe” was drafted in 1941 by Altiero Spinelli and Ernesto Rossi, when they were exiled to the island of Ventotene, in the Mediterranean sea, by the Fascist regime. Subsequently it was edited by Eugenio Colorni and circulated clandestinely with the help of Ursula Hirschmann and Ada Rossi.
These Italian intellectuals and militant politicians envisioned the creation of a united and free Europe, to change the historical path that had led European countries for the second time to the brink of self-destruction.
Along both the East/West and the North/South axis, Europe has also been at the forefront in the promotion of cooperation and dialogue with a view to creating a peaceful international community. While in the area of common defence and foreign policy, initiatives have not always been successful, from the very beginning with the proposal for a European Defence Community in the early 1950s, which was rejected.
It is a subject in which the European Union still struggles to speak with one voice in the international arena, since Member States are reluctant to transfer sovereignty in this field to a supranational level.
The project of a European Defence Community
Italian Prime Minister Alcide De Gasperi was among the most active promoters of the European Defence Community. The project sank in 1954 when it failed to be ratified by the French Parliament.
Looking East in times of the Cold War
German reunification took place on 3 October 1990, less than a year after the fall of the Berlin Wall. For the first time, the borders of the European Community moved to the East.
Herman von Rompuy (BE),
President of the European Council 2009-2014. HAEU, INT 885
Cooperation with Africa
The European Development Fund was launched in 1959, and is still the main source of EU development aid for the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries.