On this page there are a series of articles on the functioning of the European Union; how it’s institutions work, how the parliament works, the treaties which govern the EU, and other things besides. The EU is complicated however, so if there’s any questions you have about the EU, please tweet me (@SamHufton1), ask in a comment on an article or send a Facebook message.
The Congress of Europe: is widely regarded as the birth and beginning of the European project. In May 1948, 800 delegates from Europe (as well as observers from the US and Canada) came to the Hague in the Netherlands in order to discuss the idea of a politically, economically and socially united Europe; the Congress took place in the Hall of Knights. Journalists, politicians, philosophers, lawyers, professors, entrepreneurs and clergymen all attended the Congress to make the idea of a stronger and more peaceful Europe possible. Notable attendees include German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer, Harold Macmillan, François Mitterand, French Prime Minister Robert Schuman, Paul-Henri Spaak, Paul van Zeeland, Altiero Spinelli, Salvador de Madariaga, Jean Monnet and was chaired by the former British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill. The Congress split into 3 separate committees; political, economic & social, and cultural. Out of these deliberations, two strands of thought emerged; the federalists in favour of a more unitary state, and the unionists who were in favour of European reprochement being carried out by the existing national governments. In terms of tangible outcomes, the Congress led to the creation of the Collège d’Europe, the European Convention on Human Rights, backed up by a supranational court of justice, as well as recommendations to initiate the process of political and economic integration; the dismantling of trade barriers, mobilisation of labour and resources, and creation a European deliberative assembly and special council to plan European integration. This would lead to the founding of the European Coal & Steel Community after the 1951 Paris Treaty, and later the fully fledged European Economic Community, founded with the 1957 Treaties of Rome.