Enjoy Europe Day? Churchill would have done

Last Wednesday, 9 May, was Europe Day.  If celebration of this day here in Britain passed you by then you might enjoy Winston Churchill’s Zurich Speech in 1946, calling for a United States of Europe.

You can read the full text here and can listen to the former Liberal Home Secretary delivering the speech in two parts here and here.

Council of Europe

Churchill (right) with Adenauer, Spaak, Bevin, Schuman and de Gasperi as members of the Council of Europe

In this seminal speech, Churchill said,

“If Europe were once united in the sharing of its common inheritance, there would be no limit to the happiness, to the prosperity and glory which its three or four hundred million people would enjoy.”

He called for a “sovereign remedy” to Europe’s troubled past and said,

“What is this sovereign remedy?

It is to re-create the European Family, or as much of it as we can, and provide it with a structure under which it can dwell in peace, in safety and in freedom.

We must build a kind of United States of Europe.”

As a half-American, who had travelled extensively in the place he referred to as “the Great Republic” and having imagined that in slightly different circumstances he might have been a Congressman rather than an MP, Churchill would probably have had a clear idea about the constitutional structure implied by “United States”.

In case there is any doubt as to whether Churchill imagined British participation in the project, he said,

“The first step is to form a Council of Europe.”

Three years later in Strasbourg, Churchill spoke as a member of the Council of Europe:

“We are meeting here in this new Assembly not as representatives of our different countries or different political parties but as Europeans marching forward.”

The Strasbourg speech (full text here) was as influential as Zurich in leading to 9 May 1950, the first Europe Day, when Robert Schuman announced a plan to create a Coal and Steel Community, leading to the European Economic Community in 1957.

I think our school children should learn more about Winston Churchill.  I am sure all the newspapers would agree.

* Antony Hook is a Liberal Democrat MEP for South East England and has practised as a barrister since 2003.

Read more by or more about , or .
This entry was posted in Europe / International and News.
Advert

5 Comments

  • SSSHHHHhhhhh don’t let the Tories hear you telling the inconvenient truth that Churchill was pro European…

  • Churchill never intended Britain to be part of his United States of Europe because he thought the Commonwealth was going to be much more central to Britain’s future economy and foreign policy.

    Unfortunately for modern europhobes, the Commonwealth idea is one that is forty years out of date as a bloc of nations with Britain providing the economic engine, and forty years too soon as a bloc of nations around India’s economy.

    And of course there’s the issue of whether said europhobes would be any happier cooperating on equal terms with India et al than they currently are with France, Germany and friends.

  • This is all interesting stuff to one who failed History at school. Perhaps more interesting than what he actually said (or meant) then, would be a projection of what he might be saying were he around today.

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

If you are a member of the party, you can have the Lib Dem Logo appear next to your comments to show this. You must be registered for our forum and can then login on this public site with the same username and password.

To have your photo next to your comment please signup your email address with Gravatar.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

*
*
Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?

Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarRodney Watts 6th Dec - 7:49pm
    Some very well put and constructive comments on what realistically might be achieved on and after the GE. Sadly our leadership, have believed and broadcast...
  • User AvatarIan Patterson 6th Dec - 6:50pm
    Mere weeks ago, we were promised hundreds of seats at the GE, Swinson for P.M etc. Cold reality has now intruded. What is going on...
  • User AvatarPaul Barker 6th Dec - 6:37pm
    @Various We have been sliding in The Polls since early October, well before The Campaign began. We seem to have levelled out over the last...
  • User Avatarnigel hunter 6th Dec - 6:13pm
    Yes . It has been a poor campaign. Sliding down in the polls means we are not newsworthy enough,we have been squeezed Johnson and his...
  • User AvatarDavid Raw 6th Dec - 6:12pm
    @ Matthew Huntbach I agree, Matthew. AsCchair of Trustees of a Foodbank, I well know there are plenty of pockets of poverty in the areas...
  • User AvatarRichard Underhill 6th Dec - 6:04pm
    A mole repellant that is proven to actually work. Must be approved by Which magazine and must not be unkind to animals.
Tue 10th Dec 2019