Pope Francis in his remarks after reciting the Regina Caeli on May 10, 2020, urged members of the European Union to maintain a spirit of “concord and collaboration” in addressed the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.
His comments came on the 70th anniversary of the Schuman Declaration, which paved the way for today’s European Union.
“My thought goes today to Europe and to Africa: to Europe, on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the Schuman Declaration of May 9, 1950,” Pope Francis said. “It has inspired the European process of integration, making possible the reconciliation of the peoples of the Continent, after Word War II, and the long period of stability and peace, of which we benefit today. May the spirit of the Schuman Declaration not fail to inspire all those that have responsibilities in the European Union, called to address in a spirit of concord and collaboration the social and economic consequences caused by the pandemic.”
As Vatican News pointed out today, in 1950, European nations were still struggling to overcome the devastation wrought by World War II, which had ended 5 years earlier.
The Declaration presented by French foreign minister, Robert Schuman, on 9 May 1950, represents a milestone in the process that saw the merging of economic interests that would help raise standards of living and be the first step towards a more united Europe.
Most important, the pooling of coal and steel production proposed by Schuman, aimed to make war between historic rivals France and Germany “not merely unthinkable, but materially impossible”.