The origins of the European Movement date back to July 1947, at a time when the cause of a United Europe was being championed by notables such as Winston Churchill and Duncan Sandys in the form of the Anglo-French United European Movement. The UEM acted as a platform for the co-ordination of organisations created in the wake of WWII. As a result of their efforts, the congress of The Committee for the Co-ordination of the European Movements took place in Paris on 17th July 1947 incorporating “La Ligue Européenne de Coopération Economique” (LECE), “l’Union européenne des Fédéralistes” (UEF), “l’Union parlementaire européenne” (UPE) and the Anglo-French United European Movements. They met again on the 10th November 1947 and changed their name to The Joint International Committee for European Unity. They retained this name until after the 1948 Congress of The Hague.
Congress of the Hague
From 7 to 11th May 1948, 800 delegates from around Europe as well as observers from Canada and the United States gathered in The Hague, The Netherlands for the Congress of Europe. Organised by the International Committee of the Movements for European Unity and presided over by Winston Churchill, the Congress brought together representatives from across a broad political spectrum, providing them with the opportunity to discuss ideas about the development of European Union. Important political figures such as Konrad Adenauer, Winston Churchill, Harold Macmillan, François Mitterrand, Paul-Henry 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. This landmark conference was to have a profound influence on the shape of the European Movement, which was created soon afterwards.
The European Movement was formally created on the 25th October 1948, when the Joint International Committee for European Unity decided to change its name. Duncan Sandys was elected President and Léon Blum, Winston Churchill, Alcide De Gasperi and Paul-Henri Spaak were elected as Honorary Presidents.
The first major achievement of the European Movement was the creation of the Council of Europe in May 1949. The European Movement was also responsible for the creation of the “Collège d’Europe” in Bruges and the European Centre of Culture in Geneva.
One of its major functions during the 1950’s through to the 1990’s was the setting up of think-tanks and a network of mobilisation in the democratic countries of Europe and in countries subjected to totalitarian regimes.
Since 1948, the EUROPEAN MOVEMENT has played an essential role in the process of European integration by exercising its influence on European and national institutions. It fought in favour of the direct election of the European Parliament by all European citizens, in favour of the Treaty on the European Union and also for a European Constitution.
Its objective was to transform the relations between the European States and its citizens. To achieve this goal, the European Movement always put the citizen at the heart of Community construction.
Currently, the European Movement International is represented in 39 national European offices and regroups 36 international Associations.