70 years of the Schuman plan: where is Europe today?

On 9 May 1950, the French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman proposed the foundation of a European Community. His vision five years after the end of the war was to prevent armed conflict through political cooperation, initially in the coal and steel sectors. Schuman's proposal is considered the cornerstone of today's EU. Commentators take stock seventy years on.

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Hospodářské noviny (CZ) /

Foundation of trust must not be lost

The member states must follow all the fine words about the EU with deeds that strengthen it, Hospodářské noviny warns:

“The financial and economic crisis, the migration problem, the Brexit - all these factors have led to predictions about the end of the EU. But nothing of the sort has happened. On the contrary: according to surveys people's satisfaction with membership of the EU or Eurozone was higher last year than ever before. ... But these positive surveys come from a time when the EU was doing well economically. This is changing dramatically with corona. ... Europe's national leaders must now make a clear commitment to the EU. The Czech prime minister praised the role of the EU on Europe Day on Twitter. It would be nice if he went further than just a tweet.”

Dagens Nyheter (SE) /

Maybe the British will join the 100th celebration

"If the EU did not exist it would have to be invented" - that was Dagens Nyheter's headline on Europe Day:

“The EU is far from perfect. There's a lot to be frustrated with and a lot to reform. But if you take stock 70 years after Robert Schuman's press conference, there are many positive things to be said. Peace, growth and freedom are non-negotiable values. Without the Union, the Swedes would be poorer, weaker and more boring. Congratulations to the EU. And who knows: maybe for the EU's 100th birthday the British will be celebrating alongside us.”

El País (ES) /

Don't just gripe, get involved

Spain should not make the EU the scapegoat in the corona crisis, social scientists Ignacio Molina and Federico Steinberg warn in El País:

“The Brexit and the collapse of the Italians' traditional pro-Europeanism show what a historical mistake it would be to create false expectations now with regard to a constructive relationship between Spain and the EU. ... Nothing would be more damaging than to spread the idea that the European path is imposed and alien to our own. We must know how to influence the European strategy to our benefit - while always seeing it as a project that is supported by the vast majority of our society. In this way, while we help shape the EU that Spain needs. And we can also, conversely, adopt European goals as our own.”

Baricada (RO) /

No corks will fly on the periphery

We live in a Europe driven by profit and inequality, says the left-leaning Baricada:

“For us here on the periphery 9 May is still a day for an economic Europe that is geared towards profit and a day of an unequal Europe. Instead of prosperity for everyone, Europe's economic community has brought us an austerity policy for everyone and wealth for just a few. This united Europe, which was built on the victory over fascism, is now arming itself, and we are seeing increasing investment in the war industry. If we want a Europe Day that we can all celebrate, Europe must transform itself from an anti-fascist union into one of economic and social equality.”

Webcafé (BG) /

A day of mourning for Bulgaria

For the Bulgarians May 9th marks a different, less pleasant anniversary, writes Webcafé:

“For too long Bulgarian society believed that the USSR had freed Bulgaria from fascism. ... But that's not true. Firstly because there has never been fascism or Nazism in Bulgaria. Secondly because the USSR declared war on Bulgaria even though the country had previously declared neutrality. As a result a puppet regime was set up in Sofia. This then morphed into a totalitarian dictatorship the devastating consequences of which will shape our lives for at least another half a century. It was not a liberation but an enslavement.”