Friday, June 24, 2016

Winston Churchill on European Integration



The following is the final paragraph of a speech by Churchill at Zurich University on September 19, 1946:

“I must now sum up the propositions which are before you. Our constant aim must be to build and fortify the strength of [the United Nations]. Under and within that world concept we must re-create the European family in a regional structure called, it may be, the United States of Europe. The first step is to form a Council of Europe. If at first all the states of Europe are not willing or able to join the union, we must nevertheless proceed to assemble and combine those who will and those who can. The salvation of the common people of every race and of every land from war or servitude must be established on solid foundations and must be guarded by the readiness of all men and women to die rather than submit to tyranny. In all this urgent work, France and Germany must take the lead together. Great Britain, the British Commonwealth of Nations, mighty America, and I trust Soviet Russia—for then indeed all would be well—must be the friends and sponsors of the new Europe and must champion its right to live and shine.”—Winston Churchill

Notice that Churchill seems to exclude Britain from this European project! Yet Churchill’s “efforts eventually led to the Hague Congress of May 1948 and the creation of the Council of Europe in 1949, both milestones in European integration.”*

* Brent F. Nelsen and Alexander Stubb, eds. The European Union: Readings on the Theory and Practice of European Integration (Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 3rd ed., 2003). See too, Robert Rhodes James, ed. Winston S. Churchill: His Complete Speeches, 1897-1963, Vol. 7, 1943-1949 (New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1974).

Further Reading: 
  • Arnull, Anthony and Damian Chalmers, eds. The Oxford Handbook of European Union Law. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2015. 
  • Bomberg, Elizabeth, John Peterson, and Richard Corbett, eds. The European Union: How Does it Work? New York: Oxford University Press, 2012. 
  • Corbett, Richard, Francis Jacobs, and Michael Shackleton. The European Parliament. London: John Harper Publishing, 8th ed., 2011. 
  • Jones, Erik, Anand Menon, and Stephen Weatherill, eds. The Oxford Handbook of the European Union. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2012.  

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