Constantin C. & Couteau B. 2022. « Beyond Robert Schuman’s Europe – citizen’s ideas and historic perspective for a better Union », Special edition, Paris: Jacques Delors Institute, 9 May.
In 2020, five European organisations embarked on the project entitled Beyond Robert Schuman’s Europe to mark the 70th anniversary of the R. Schuman Declaration, a turning point in the Europe’s post-war history that has initiated the process of the European integration. Our joint project focused on the legacy of 1950 Declaration but more importantly on its relevance for modern European societies through the political and intellectual contributions of Great Europeans such as: Jacques Delors (France), Bronisław Geremek (Poland), Jerzy Giedroyć (Lithuania), Vaclav Havel (Czechia) and Altiero Spinelli (Italy).
Our aim was to build a bridge between the spirit of the 1950 Robert Schuman Declaration, contributions of five Great Europeans and the ongoing Conference on the Future of Europe that sets a new perspective on next steps of the European integration through collaborative engagement of European citizens. This paper proudly presents the results of the project built on two foundations: research papers examining the contribution of five Great Europeans to the European project as well as public debates that followed discussing the papers’ findings. The debates have accordingly been focused on examining how the Robert Schuman Declaration legacy continues to inspire young generation of Europeans.
The 1950 Schuman Declaration was discussed through different perspectives on European integration the respective Europe’s Founding Fathers embodied particularly in relation to diverse histories of member states and their struggle with totalitarian regimes.
The historic part of the project has not however been everything. The current developments in Europe remind us about the relevancy of the post-war priorities of Robert Schuman and other Great Europeans that constructed the European project: seeking what unifies the nations on the continent to avoid conflicts and divisions that were continuously putting nations into misery and war trauma of the past ages.
Today, the European societies need to confront a range of new challenges: the climate change, concerns over privacy in the digital age, pandemic and, sadly, the democratic downturn in some of the EU member states, such as Poland and Hungary. Then, the external and internal threats to the European Union unity have been high on the project’s agenda. Seeking responses to these challenges, the project’s partners have engaged citizens in their respective countries to discuss the modern European challenges and the universal meaning of the 1950 Declaration.
Let us embark together in this final project’s report on the journey into the origins of the European integration symbolized by the 1950 Robert Schuman Declaration as well as into the five chapters of the European history that Jacques Delors, Bronisław Geremek, Jerzy Giedroyć, Vaclav Havel and Altiero Spinelli wrote throughout their intellectual and political lifespans. They are followed by the Citizens ideas for the future of Europe, a review of debates and discussions with the young generation of European.
I thank the dedicated teams of the organisations that took part in the 2020-2022 “Beyond Robert Schuman’s Europe” project: Jacques Delors Institute in Paris, the Bronisław Geremek Foundation in Warsaw, the Jerzy Giedroyć Forum for Dialogue and Cooperation in Vilnus and the Altiero Spinelli Institute of Federalist Studies in Italy.
I thank the European Commission for the generous support to the project in the framework of the Europe for Citizens programme.
Member of the Management Board
The Bronisław Geremek Foundation