On May 9, 1950, the Schumann Declaration ushered in a series of events that – in over little more than half a century – transformed Europe from a broken continent ravaged by the terrible experience of two world wars, largely fought on its territory, into one of the major players on the global stage. This rebirth was possible due to a gradual integration – initially economic and then political – among a constantly growing amount of countries, now numbering 28. The project has often been plagued by predictions of failure, yet it has always been able to recover. Now facing the most serious economic crisis of the post-war period, Europe is seeking new solutions and perseveres in its efforts to give the continent fresh prospects for the new millennium. The authors recount the history of this unique experience in a detailed, accurate way, in part thanks to their wide-ranging experience with European institutions.
Bino Olivi (1925-2011) was a former spokesperson for the European Commission.
Roberto Santaniello is a European Commission official for information and communication affairs.