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Founding fathers of the EU: Joseph Bech

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Joseph Bech was the Luxembourgish politician that helped set up the European Coal and Steel Community in the early 1950s and a leading architect behind European integration in the later 1950s.
It was a joint memorandum from the Benelux countries that led to the convening of the Messina Conference in June 1955, paving the way for the European Economic Community.
Bech’s experience of living in Luxembourg during the two World Wars made him understand how powerless such a small state could be, isolated between two powerful neighbours. This led him to realise the importance of internationalism and cooperation between states if a stable and prosperous Europe were to be achieved. He helped to set up the Benelux union between Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg, an experience which proved to be of great benefit when the European institutions were developed. The process of forming this union between the three small states has since been considered a prototype for the European Union itself.

Type: HISTORY   Reference: I-072676   Date: 09/05/2012   Duration: 00:53
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