Robert Schuman on Hungary and Europe
Title: Robert Schuman on Hungary and Europe
Author: AVERY, Graham
Citation: The Hungarian Quarterly, 2010, 198, Summer, 3-16
External link: http://www.hungarianquarterly.com
Robert Schuman (1886–1963), French statesman and ‘founding father’ of European integration, once declared: Nous devons faire l’Europe non seulement dans l’intérêt des pays libres, mais aussi pour pouvoir y accueillir les peuples de l’Est qui, délivrés des sujétions qu’elles ont subies jusqu’à présent, nous demanderont leur adhésion et notre appui moral. [We must make Europe not only in the interest of the free countries, but also to be able to welcome the peoples of the East who, freed from the subjection that they have suffered until now, will ask to join us and request our moral support. (my translation)] During the enlargement of the European Union (EU) to include the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, which I helped to plan in the European Commission in Brussels, I often quoted this far-sighted remark of Schuman. Before 1989 he was practically the only politician in the West to predict that one day we would welcome into the EU the Europeans who were separated from us by the Iron Curtain. But I had a problem: I could not discover the source of the quotation. It was not in Schuman’s published writings, and although the secondary sources dated it to 1963, I could not find a reference to the original documentary source. This irritated me, and I even began to wonder whether the quotation was authentic. Since much of the literature concerning Schuman is hagiographic in nature, maybe one of his followers had invented it. However, I recently discovered that the quotation was first published in 1963, just after Schuman’s death, in an article dedicated to him,1 and that in fact he made the remark in a speech in Luxembourg on 3 November 1956, of which I have obtained a transcript.2 It is clear from other remarks in the speech—whose text has not previously been published—that Schuman’s appeal to Europe to “welcome the people of the East” was a response to the events in Budapest of October-November 1956, of which reports were reaching the West when he made the speech. Together with the discovery of the true date and source of the quotation, I found that Schuman had a particular interest in Hungary, beginning with visits to Budapest in the 1930s and continuing in the postwar period. So in this article3 I will: - describe briefly Robert Schuman’s life, his visits to Hungary, and his relations with Hungarians in France - reproduce the relevant extracts from his speech of 1956, of which only a few phrases have been published before - conclude with some reflections on Schuman’s vision of European integration.
Type of Access: openAccess