Michael Hughes-Narborough (letters, January 11) is totally wrong in claiming that the EEC (the EU’s predecessor) was only an economic project. Its political nature was its main feature from the very beginning and its most attractive feature.
The founding father of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), which preceded the EEC, was the French foreign minister, Robert Schuman, and he announced as early as 1948, France’s aim to create a democratic organisation for Europe which a post-Nazi and democratic Germany could join.
Then, in 1949–50, he made a series of speeches about creating a supranational European Community to create lasting peace between member states. The Schuman Declaration of 9 May 1950 proposed to place French and German production of coal and steel under one common High Authority, open to participation of Western European countries. This co-operation was to be designed in such a way as to create common interests between European countries which would lead to gradual political integration, a condition for the pacification of relations between them: “Europe will not be made all at once, or according to a single plan.
“It will be built through concrete achievements which first create a de facto solidarity. The coming together of the nations of Europe requires the elimination of the age-old opposition of France and Germany.”
So, the European Project of close political co-operation in Europe for the sake of peace was very well established and no secret by the time the UK voted very decisively in 1975 to stay in the EU.
Possibly unlike Mr Hughes-Narborough, I have childhood memories of World War 2, which was only the latest of centuries of war between the nation states of Europe. I don’t want my grandchildren to experience war.
The ECSC, EEC and EU have been remarkably successful in preserving democracy, extending human rights and maintaining peace within their boundaries and it would be very short-sighted to leave the EU now.
Even if I thought it would be in our economic interest to leave and didn’t value my grandchildren’s right to live, study and work anywhere in the EU, I would make peace the top priority and want to stay.