Joseph Bech was the Luxembourgish politician that helped set up theEuropean Coal and Steel Community in the early 1950s and a leadingarchitect behind European integration in the later 1950s. It was a joint memorandum from the Benelux countries that led to theconvening of the Messina Conference in June 1955, paving the way for theEuropean Economic Community. Bech’s experience of living in Luxembourg during the two World Wars made himunderstand how powerless such a small state could be, isolated between twopowerful neighbours. This led him to realise the importance of internationalismand cooperation between states if a stable and prosperous Europe were tobe achieved. He helped to set up the Benelux union between Belgium, theNetherlands and Luxembourg, an experience which proved to be of great benefit when the Europeaninstitutions were developed. The process of forming this union between the three small states hassince been considered a prototype for the European Union itself.
Type: Clip Reference: I-072676 Date: 04/05/2012 Duration: 00:53 Personalities:Bech, Joseph