[Last update: 6 April 2009]

Robert Schuman and the Council of Europe



triangle Highlights

triangle Selected documents

triangle Biographical details

triangle Sources in Central Archives

triangle Video footage [fr] (beginning is silent) [1m38s]


triangle Highlights

- 1949: Signs the Council of Europe Statute

- 1950: Oversees the admission of Germany and the Saar

- 1950: August, presents the Schuman Plan to the Assembly [fr] - Audio extract [5m21s]

- 1950: November, signs European Convention on Human Rights

- 1951: December, address to the Assembly, calling for European unification [fr] - Audio extract [22m47s]

triangle Selected documents

1949, 3-5 May

Attends the Conference on the Establishment of a Council of Europe, St James Palace, London

Argues for the organisation to be named the "European Union". Discussed the choice of Strasbourg as the seat of the Organisation and the admission of additional members

Speech at the conference


1949, 8 August

Opens the first session of the Committee of Ministers, representing France, the host country

As French Minister of Foreign Affairs, he attends the first ten sessions (the last one being 18 March 1952)


Text, opening of first session

1949, 2 September

Concludes the Agreement on Strasbourg as the seat of the Council of Europe and the Agreement on Privileges

Agreement related to the seat

Letter to SG

1950, 30 March - 1 April

Chairs the 3rd session of the Committee of Ministers (France has the Presidency)

Highlights of this session include:

- Invitation to the Federal Republic of Germany and the Saar to join the Council of Europe as associate members

- Creation of an Ad Hoc Joint Committee (seven representatives of the Committee of Ministers and seven of the Assembly) to liaise between the two organs

- Convocation of a meeting of senior officials dealing with human rights questions

Summary of the 2nd and 3rd sessions

The Saar Question

1950, 10 August

Addresses the Assembly on his plan for a European Coal and Steel Community [fr]

Audio extract [5m21s]
Full text

1950, 4 November

Signs the European Convention on Human Rights

Text of speech

1950, 24 November

Speech to the Assembly on European Defence [fr]

(Schuman did not actually pronounce the words at the end of the published text: "Non, l'armée européenne n'est pas le produit (...) volonté d'aboutir")

Audio extract [24m]
Full text

1951, 10 December

Addresses the Assembly, calling for European unification [fr]

Audio extract [22m47s]
Full text

1953, 13-16 October

Participates in the Round Table organized by the Council of Europe's Committee of Cultural Experts in Rome

Full text [fr]


Article "L'Europe est une communauté spirituelle et culturelle" (European Yearbook, vol. 1)


1959, 20 April

Speech before the Assembly (academic session) celebrating the 10th Anniversary of the Council of Europe

Full text [fr]


triangle Biographical details


Key dates

1886, 29 June

Born in Clausen, Luxembourg to parents from Luxembourg (mother) and Lorraine (father)


Studies law at the universities of Berlin, Munich, Bonn and Strasbourg where he obtains a doctorate in German law. Opens a legal office in Metz


Auxiliary with the German Army during the First World War


Official French citizen after Lorraine reverts to France


Launching of his political career. Deputy for Moselle in the French National Assembly. Represents this department until he retires (except for 1940-44)


Nominated Under Secretary for the Presidency of the Council for Refugees under the Raynaud and Pétain governments (March to July); 14th September arrested by the Gestapo

1946, June - 1947, November

Finance Minister at the beginning of the IVth Republic

1948, July - 1953, January

Minister of Foreign Affairs after a brief period as Prime Minister

1950, 9 May

The "Schuman Declaration", setting out a blueprint for European construction

Schuman proposes to Germany that it should join on an equal footing a new body responsible for the joint management of coal and steel

In answer to this declaration, on 18 April 1951 Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and the Federal Republic of Germany sign a treaty setting up the European Coal and Steel Community


Justice Minister for a short time

1955 - 1961

President of the European Movement


Supports the relaunch of European construction centred on the European Economic Community, ratified in Rome that year

1958 - 1960

As a member of the Christian Democrat Parliamentary Group, is unanimously elected the first President of the Joint Assembly (EEC, ECSC, Euratom), which later became the European Parliament


Retires from political life


Dies 4 October, Scy-Chazelles (near Metz)


triangle Sources in Central Archives


File 297 3 "Speeches by important political figures"


File 001 20 "Siège du Conseil de l'Europe"


Debates of the Consultative Assembly


Texts adopted of the Consultative Assembly


Card catalogue


European Yearbook

triangle Links and references

L'Europe de Robert Schuman / Grégoire Eldin et al. - Paris : Presses de l'Université de Paris Sorbonne, 2001 (Council of Europe Library classmark 341.242 EUR)