The Founding Fathers

Richard T. Griffiths

in The Oxford Handbook of the European Union

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780199546282
Published online January 2013 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Politics & International Relations

The Founding Fathers


This article reviews the three main supranational treaties that were signed in the years 1951–1957: the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), the European Defence Community (EDC), and the European Economic Community (EEC). Through these contexts, the main protagonists, the ‘founding fathers’, are introduced, each accompanied by a necessarily short description of his career to date. The founding fathers were not ‘European saints’ or visionaries but practical politicians dealing with real problems, and trying to solve them in institutional forms that would prove more attractive and more durable than those which had ended in economic depression, autarchy, militarism, and war. This makes their personal achievements more real than if we were to portray them as heroes of myth and legend.

Keywords: ECSC; European Defence Community; European Economic Community; treaties; European integration

Article.  6253 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; European Union

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