November 26, 2007
The European Movement International (EMI) was born out of the Congress of Europe, which took place in The Hague in 1948 and had a profound influence on the shape of the European Union today. On the 23-24 May 2008, we will celebrate the Sixtieth Anniversary of the Congress of Europe in the Hague. The celebrations are entitled “Building the Europe of the Future Together”.
About the European Movement International
The EMI was launched in the wake of the 1948 Congress, and since then, has played an essential role in the process of European integration, working with European and national institutions, setting up think-tanks and a network of mobilization in the democratic countries of Europe. Throughout its history, the European Movement has been chaired by many illustrious European political figures, including Winston Churchill, Paul Henri Spaak, Walter Hallstein, Mario Soares, Valéry Giscard d’Estaing and José-Maria Gil Robles. The organisation is an international organisation open to all political, economic, social and cultural trends in civil society. Its objective is to contribute to the establishment of a united Europe founded on the respect for basic human rights, peace principles, and democratic principles of liberty and solidarity as well as the participation of citizens.
The European Movement’s 43 national councils and 21 international member associations work towards bringing together representatives from national and European associations, political parties, enterprises and trade unions. The organisation played a key role in the campaign in favour of the direct election of the European Parliament, in favour of the Treaty on the European Union and a European Constitution. It also plays a leading role in organising debates and exchanges on European issues, encouraging citizens to participate in the decision making process, informing citizens about Europe and EU Policy, and it can speak to a large and pluralist spectrum of civil society. Thus, the European Movement’s history more than qualifies it for its role in organising the Hague Congress of 2008.
About the Congress of Europe 1948
At least 750 delegates from 26 European countries, as well as observers from Canada and the United States attended “The Congress of Europe” from the 7th to 11th May in 1948. The event was organised by the International Committee of the Movements for European Unity and presided over by Winston Churchill, and it brought together representatives across a broad political spectrum, and provided them with the opportunity to discuss ideas about the development of the European Union. Prominent political figures such as Konrad Adenauer, Winston Churchill, Harold Macmillan, François Mitterrand, Paul-Henri Spaak, Albert Coppé, and Altiero Spinelli took an active role in the Congress and a call was launched for a political, economic and monetary Union of Europe. The subsidiary principle, shared sovereignty rights, democracy, the rule of law and solidarity were the elements that caused this conference to influence the shape of the European Union today, as some products of the Congress were the creation of the European Movement International (EMI), the Council of Europe, and the College of Europe.