The concept of European integration has been a topic for discussion this century among European intellectuals since the early 1920s. Richard Coudenhove-Kalergi argued in 1923 for the creation of a pan-European union. An emerging ‘European movement’ assembled around 2,000 participants from 24 countries in a Congress in Vienna in 1926. They approved the pan-European Manifesto that was, among other things, in favour of a customs union, common currency, military alliance and the respect of national values. Aristide Briand, the French Foreign Minister, was in charge of the Government Memorandum on organization of the federal union in Europe in 1930, at the time when Adolf Hitler scored his first electoral victories. The Memorandum considered issues such as a common market; customs union; free movement of goods, capital and people; and a community of European people. Altiero Spinelli and Ernesto Rossi, although deported to the island of Ventotene in 1941, secretly circulated the Ventotene Manifesto in which they argued in favour of the creation of the European Federalist Movement. To avoid international anarchy and save the liberty in Europe, they claimed, one needs to establish a federal Europe to which nation states should transfer certain sovereign rights in the common interest of all Europeans (Sidjanski, 1992, pp. 19-26).
The Second World War left many deep scars in Europe. These included not only the destruction of a large part of the population and production potential, but also the position of foreign troops in many countries. There was also a danger that after the joint elimination of Nazism, the confronting forces of the Red Army and the armies of the west would develop into an open conflict between east and the west. That was clearly seen by Winston Churchill who called for a closing of the ranks in the west. In a speech in Zurich on 19 September 1946 he said: ‘I am going to say something that will astonish you. The first step in the recreation of the European family must be a partnership between France and Germany’ (Jansen, 1975, p. 7). It was a vision that cooperation between former adversaries could defuse potential conflicts in the future.
European intellectuals continued the development of the integration idea after the Second World War. The European Federalist Union was created in Paris in 1946. This multi-party movement was matched by the creation of similar partisan movements among the christian democrats and socialists. Political issues were supplemented by the establishment of the European League for Economic Cooperation on the