The EU has as its motto “United in Diversity.“ To what extent does reality reflect this federal ideal as inscribed in the European treaties? Although the Lisbon Treaty introduces reforms and legitimizes processes that reinforced the federal character of the European project, it remains difficult at this stage to define the EU as a social and political structure in which power rests on a fragile equilibrium between unity and diversity as well as on a struggle to maintain it. If unity has been reinforced through successive institutional reforms, there is still disequilibrium in favor of diversity.
Are the Founding Ideas Obsolete?
Isabelle Petit and George Ross
On 9 May 1950, in an elegant salon of the Quai d’Orsay in Paris, France’s Foreign Minister Robert Schuman proposed that France and Germany, plus any other democratic nation in Western Europe that wanted to join, establish a “community” to regulate and govern the coal and steel industries across national borders. France and Germany had been at, or preparing for, war for most of the nineteenth and twentieth century, at huge costs to millions of citizens. Moreover, in 1950 iron and steel remained central to national economic success and war-making power. The Schuman Plan therefore clearly spoke to deeper issues.