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In keeping with the wishes of Jean Monnet and his closest colleagues, who dreamt of seeing his family home transformed into a place in which young people could come together to discuss and share ideas, the European Parliament has made this public place of memory a venue of choice for people seeking to learn more about the way the European Union works and discover the environment in which one of the architects of today's Europe lived and worked. It was here that many plans which would have a decisive ...

Valéry Giscard d'Estaing was one of Europe's leading figures in the generation which came after that of the founding fathers. He was close to Jean Monnet, but he himself said that his main source of inspiration was Robert Schuman. For both Schuman and Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, their relationship with Germany was a thread running through their lives. Valéry Giscard d'Estaing was born in Koblenz, Germany, where his father had been posted in the French administration after the First World War. Giscard ...

Story of the European Anthem

Briefing 04-05-2021

In the inter-war years, advocates of European unity began pondering the choice of an anthem that would convey the feeling of sharing a common destiny and common values. The creation of the Council of Europe in 1949 spurred further calls to this end. Proposals for scores and lyrics for an anthem for Europe began appearing spontaneously. It was not until 1972, however, that the Council of Europe formally adopted the prelude of Ode to Joy from Beethoven's Ninth Symphony as the European anthem. For ...

This EPRS publication, 'Key issues in the European Council', is updated quarterly to coincide with European Council meetings. It aims to provide an overview of the institution’s activities on major EU issues, by analysing twelve broad policy areas, explaining the legal and political background and the main priorities and orientations defined by the European Council in each field. It also assesses the results of European Council involvement in these policy areas to date, and identifies future challenges ...

Schuman Declaration: 70 years on

At a Glance 07-05-2020

Aiming to secure peace in Europe after the horrors of the Second World War, the Schuman Declaration proposed cooperation among European countries in two key economic areas central to rearmament and warfare: coal and steel. As an institutional framework for this cooperation, the Schuman Declaration proposed the creation of the first supranational organisation in Europe, the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC). Established in 1952, the ECSC laid the foundations for today's European Union (EU). ...

During its first decade as a directly elected political institution, from 1979 to 1989, the European Parliament exercised significant influence in shaping the debate and agenda around the concept of completing the ‘single’ or ‘internal’ market of the (then) European Economic Community. Through both its early campaigning for action in this field and its definition and analysis of issues such as the ‘cost of non-Europe’, the Parliament contributed to the political and intellectual climate which led ...

Wolfram Kaiser, a non-resident Visiting Fellow with the European Parliamentary Research Service, delivered the EPRS annual lecture in Brussels on 6 November 2019. In his lecture, he argued that the EU has been profoundly shaped by three main notions and practices of transnational governance: the struggle for executive autonomy, practices of neo-corporatist concertation and consensus-seeking, and the vision to Europeanise parliamentary democracy by 'constitutionalising' what is now the EU. He sought ...

The Jewish population in the EU has been diminishing in recent decades, and has witnessed an increase in acts of anti-Semitism and anti-Jewish violence in recent years. In defence of its values, including respect for minorities, the EU undertakes and funds actions to counter anti-Semitism. This is a further updated version of an 'at a glance' note published in January 2019.

The election of the European Parliament by direct universal suffrage in 1979 was a groundbreaking democratic event in that it profoundly changed the character, composition and functioning of the Assembly and its political influence in the institutional set-up of the European Community. The impact of this change extended to areas as diverse as the organisation of parliamentary business, the workings of parliamentary committees and intergroups, increased budgetary powers, the socio-professional profile ...

Since its inception in 1951, the European Parliament has come a long way. Initially a consultative body composed of delegations of national parliaments, it became a directly elected institution, obtained budgetary and legislative powers, and now exercises influence over most aspects of EU affairs. Together with representatives of national governments, who sit in the Council, Parliament co-decides on European legislation, in what could be seen as a bicameral legislature at EU level. It can reject ...