Academic journal article Trames

Jean Monnet before the First European Community: A Historical Perspective and Critic

Academic journal article Trames

Jean Monnet before the First European Community: A Historical Perspective and Critic

Article excerpt

Abstract. Jean Monnet is known as the father of the European Union. His involvement in the early stages of the European integration process was crucial for the later development of the European Communities. His previous contributions to the international cooperation through the League of Nations, or his support to the Allied Naval Forces during WWI and the Franco-British Union during WWII, can provide a wider historical perspective to the work of Monnet pursuing a united Europe. As the European Union is an organization in a constant evolution with periods of stagnation, knowing more about the original design of the mastermind of the process could also provide hints for further steps in terms of integration. This research presents the work of Jean Monnet in terms of relevance to the EU development.

Keywords: Jean Monnet, European Union, European politics, European integration, EU history

1. Introduction

Jean Monnet commands a prominent position among the Fathers of Europe, his influence in the creation of the first European Communities and further development of the organization is well known and documented. Several scholars have researched his involvement in the European Communities, but there is not much literature on his previous attempts regarding European integration before the European Coal and Steel Community. Kevin Featherstone made an excellent contribution to the debate about the influence of Monnet in the democratic deficit of the current EU from the point of view of the functional capacity of the EU. Douglas Brinkley researched Monnet's influence in the first European Communities and how it has influenced the current European Union, underlying the outstanding impact of Monnet on the process of integration in Europe. Birkenmeier, Paula Phillips Carson and Kerry D. Carson published an essential research about supranationality and Monnet in 2003. Their research focused on the debate about whether the EU is an international or supranational organization based on cooperation or integration, the influence of Monnet in the internal organization of the EU and its development into the current hybrid organization. Giandomenico Majone investigated the economic importance in Monnet's actions in terms of European integration, especially regarding the political spillover effect generated by the economic integration. But his research lacks an analysis of the original economic positions of Monnet, taking into consideration the influences of several British economists, it does not regard his work in the international financial market, or his time in China either. Claudio Maria Radaelli conducted an examination on the technocratic approach of Monnet in the first European Communities and its influence in the current EU, but does not analyze deeply the previous actions of Monnet before the ECSC that provide important hints about Monnet's position regarding the independence of the supranational institutions.

Also, the Memoirs of Monnet are an interesting source for this research, even though they have to be treated very cautiously as the author himself could have tried to influence the future by omitting some facts or underlining minor aspects of his real involvement in the process of integrating Europe. Several articles published in the prestigious journal of the Common Market Studies begotten by Monnet also provide useful information about his intentions and his actions, but especially about his wishes.

The this research is more complicated because of the inclusion of several aspects that have not been properly addressed in the context of the European integration from a retrospective approach regarding Monnet's earlier actions involving international integration. Also it is important to understand Monnet's real economic influences and private development as an international financier because economy is a key element in his way to develop the European integration. The personal and intellectual development of Monnet from a schoolboy of 16 to the influential man mastering the first European Communities is also a research question included for analysis in this paper. …

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