Courtesy Reuters

Toward European Integration: Beginnings in Agriculture

Ce pays, l'Europe

--Jean Monnet

IT must be hard indeed for non-Europeans to understand why such a vital development as the integration of Europe does not advance more rapidly, and why the conception of "national sovereignty" exercises such power over European minds when few people in Western Europe still believe that any state can solve its problems on a national basis. Deep-seated national habits, scars of old wars, differences of religion, race, social and cultural traditions cannot be swiftly surmounted. The present writer (whose views, of course, do not necessarily represent in every detail those of his Government) certainly does not believe that the psychological and social differences between the northwestern nations of Europe and the Latin group, for example, make unity impossible; yet it is a mistake not to be aware that barriers of many kinds still exist between European states.

However, Europe is growing more and more aware that there is no alternative to voluntary unification, unless it be subjection to Soviet rule. The Second World War revealed structural changes in politics and economics--clear to some farsighted men in 1919--which made the national state logically a thing of the past in Europe. Without the aid of the United States, the Western European countries could never have escaped economic ruin after the Second World War. But the O. E. E. C., through which dollar aid was extended, provided only a method of consultation among European nations; the divergencies among these national economic systems remained wide. It is, therefore, not surprising that the two supra-national plans for integration which have reached an advanced stage--the Schuman Plan and the European Defense Community--have been realized outside O. E. E. C. After the failure of the so-called Stikker Plan, which called for integration in all economic fields inside O. E. E. C., it seemed advisable to go forward on a more moderate scale, seeking economic and political integration more or less simultaneously, but restricting the effort to certain sectors.

It is the great merit

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