Hague Congress (1948)

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Meeting in the Hall of Knights in The Hague, during the congress (May 9, 1948)

The Hague Congress, considered by many as the first federal moment of the European history, was held in the Congress of Europe in The Hague from 7–11 May 1948 with 750 delegates participating from around Europe as well as observers from Canada and the United States.

The Congress brought together representatives from across a broad political spectrum, providing them with the opportunity to discuss ideas about the development of European political co-operation. Important political figures such as Konrad Adenauer, Winston Churchill, Harold Macmillan, Sir David Maxwell-Fyfe, Pierre-Henri Teitgen, François Mitterrand (both ministers in Robert Schuman's government), three former French prime ministers, Paul Reynaud, Édouard Daladier, Paul Ramadier, Paul van Zeeland, Albert Coppé and Altiero Spinelli took part.

A broad range of philosophers, journalists, church leaders, lawyers, professors, entrepreneurs and historians also took an active role in the congress. A call was launched for a political, economic and monetary Union of Europe. This landmark conference was to have a profound influence on the shape of the European Movement, which was created soon afterwards.

The Spanish statesman Salvador de Madariaga proposed the establishment of a College of Europe at the Congress. This would be a college where university graduates from many different countries, some only a short while before at war with each other, could study and live together.

The Congress also discussed the future structure and role of the Council of Europe. Teitgen and Maxwell-Fyfe were instrumental in creating the Convention of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms at the Council of Europe.

The Congress provided the means to heighten public opinion for European unity. On 20 July 1948, at the Hague meeting of ministers of Western European Union, Schuman's Foreign Minister Georges Bidault proposed the creation of a European Assembly (realized in the later Council of Europe) and a customs and economic union (the later European Coal and Steel Community and the two communities of the Treaties of Rome). Thus the conclusions of the Congress became French government policy and then the subject of European governmental policy.

See also[edit]

Sir Anthony Eden arriving at the Hall of Knights in The Hague (May 9, 1948)

References[edit]

Sir Winston Churchill arriving at the European Congress in The Hague (May 9, 1948)

Congress of Europe, May 1948; Council of Europe, 1999; ISBN 92-871-3918-0
1948-1988, 40 years European Movement: Congress of Europe, The Hague; European Movement, 1989; ISBN 3-7713-0350-8

External links[edit]