60th anniversary of the Declaration

Celebrations to remember May 9,1950

An initiative ” especially for those who understand the importance of a concrete commitment for the development of peace”. This is the focus of the programme chosen by two French dioceses, together with other ecclesiastical organizations under the patronage of the European Union, to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Schuman Declaration. Reconciliation and peace. “On May 9th 2010, we are going to celebrate the anniversary of the Robert Schuman’s Declaration. A daring initiative in its time, promoted for reconciliation and peace”. Mgr François Maupu and Mgr. Pierre Raffin, respectively bishop of Verdun and Metz, will chair the Committee to remember the Declaration made by the French Minister of Foreign Affaires that concretely paved the way to the integration process. “As bishops of dioceses, particularly affected “by the conflicts of yesterday” (especially in the XIX and XX century) we want to celebrate this anniversary with an ambitious European event. We will do that with the religious organizations which take part in the European construction process, but also the network of the European congregation and religious communities”. Under the slogan “Le neuf en Europe” many the meetings, a three-day seminar and religious moments scheduled for May 7-9. Both economy and politics. The Declaration of Minister Schuman, Catholic, “man of the frontier” by origin and cultural background, was prepared in concert with some Western Europe governments, since the continent was divided by the “iron curtain”. In the aftermath of World War II, the need for a close cooperation of the central European countries, aimed at creating common economic interests that would have triggered- according to the “inspiring fathers”- a parallel political pacifying process and cooperation among the States. Schuman was backed by two other Christian-Democratic prime ministers, German Konrad Adenauer and Italian Alcide De Gasperi, besides the support of Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg. The Declaration led to the creation, one year later, of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), the first supranational community with delegated powers from the six signatory States. In 1957, the European Economic Community (EEC) that grew geographically, institutionally and in competences into today’s European Union.On the Franco-German border. May 9th events will be held in the French territory bordering Germany. Verdun in 1916 one of the most ferocious battle-fields of World War II ; Metz the city where Robert Schuman dwelled most. His home in Scy-Chazelles is still today full of his memories. “Still too often- Maupu and Raffin said,” people perceive the European community as too distant, too technical. So it is important to give a meaning to this ideal. The future of Europe cannot be forgotten by Christians”. The programme foresees an opening celebration on May 7th with a historical retrospective and a moment of prayer in the Verdun cathedral: on the following day a visit to the historical place of Douamont (Franco-Prussian war 1870): on May 8th and 9th in Scy-Chazelles and the cathedral of Metz with the participation of cardinals Peter Erdo and Andrè Vingt-Trois, some bishops, including Irish msg. Noel Treanor, historians and European politicians. The promoters of the event include the EU Commission, Comece (Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community) and l’Institut Saint Benoit Patron de l’Europe, that is working for the beatification of Schuman. Programme, history and Declaration on the web site”World peace cannot be safeguarded without the making of creative efforts proportionate to the dangers which threaten it”. “Europe will not be made all at once, or according to a single plan: It will be built through concrete achievements which first create a de facto solidarity”. These are two excerpts from the Schuman Declaration May 9th 1950, which is considered to mark the beginning of European integration. “With this aim in view, the French Government proposed that Franco-German production of coal and steel as a whole be placed under a common High Authority, within the framework of an organization open to the participation of other countries of Europe.” This year’s main events are available online at www.9mai2010.eu, in five languages (French, English, German, Italian and Spanish), together with an explanation of the Schuman Plan and an analysis of the reasons behind the choice of the venues.

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