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Founding fathers of the EU: Paul-Henri Spaak

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‘A European statesman’ – Belgian Paul-Henri Spaak’s long political career fullymerits this title.
Lying about his age, he was accepted into the Belgian Army during theFirst World War, and consequently spent two years as a German prisoner of war.During the Second World War, now as foreign minister, he attempted in vain topreserve Belgium’s neutrality. Together with the government he went into exile,first to Paris, and later to London.
After the liberation of Belgium, Spaak served both as Foreign Minister and asPrime Minister. Even during the Second World War, he had formulated plans for amerger of the Benelux countries, and directly after the war he campaigned for theunification of Europe, supporting the European Coal and Steel Community and aEuropean defence community.
For Spaak, uniting countries through binding treaty obligations was the most effective means of guaranteeingpeace and stability. He was able to help achieve these aims as president of the first full meeting of theUnited Nations (1946) and as Secretary General of NATO (1957-61).
Spaak was a leading figure in formulating the content of the Treaty of Rome. At the ‘Messina Conference’ in1955, the six participating governments appointed him president of the working committee that prepared theTreaty.

Type: Clip   Reference: I-072671   Date: 04/05/2012   Duration: 00:58
Personalities:   Spaak, Paul-Henri  

Languages: ORIGINAL
© European Union, 2012   /   Source: EC - Audiovisual Service
Director: Diana Cioponea
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