Speeches by Jean Monnet
“We are not united as states, we are united as men.”
Speech, Washington, 30 April 1952
“This European Union cannot only be based on goodwill. Rules are necessary. The tragic events that we have lived through, those that we help, maybe because of that we have become wiser. But men come and go, and others will come to replace us. It is what we will be able to leave them; this will not be our personal experiences, for those will disappear with us. What we are able to leave them are our institutions. The lives of institutions are longer than those of men, and therefore institutions, if they are well-designed, can accumulate and pass on the wisdom of successive generations.”
Speech, Strasbourg, 11 September 1952
“During the course of our travels in the United States, a journalist asked me: ‘This Europe that you’re in the middle of making, is it the result of Soviet pressure?’ I said: ‘No, the Europe that we’re currently making is not the fruit of fear. It’s the result of the confidence that we have in ourselves and the certainty that if Europeans understand that their home is one of common qualities and abilities, we will build a Western World that will bring peace to all of civilization, to America, to Russia, and a security that cannot be obtained in any other way.”
Speech, Strasbourg, 15 June 1953
“Our community is not closed; on the contrary, it is open in every way. We are not autarkic […] and we are not closed to the aspect of chasing an ultimate goal. This ultimate goal has been pointed out since day one when Mr. Schuman made his declaration on 9 May 1950 and when the treaty [of the CECA] was signed in 1952. The ultimate goal is to eliminate barriers between the European people; it is to bring these people together in a single community.”
Speech, Strasbourg, 15 June 1953
“When we look a little further back and see the extraordinary disaster that Europeans caused themselves, […] we are literally frightened. Yet, the reason is simple: it is that each one of us, during the course of a century, chased our destinies, and applied our own rules.”
Conference, Brussels, 30 June 1953
“We don’t have the choice between changes that we will cause and those that we will have known to want and accomplish.”
Speech, Strasbourg, 12 May 1954
“The characteristic method that we use is to combine the resources of our countries; it’s to have established common institutions that have been agreed upon by national parliaments for the transfer of sovereignty and decision-making agreements; it’s to act according to the common rules that indiscriminately apply to all.”
Speech, Strasbourg, 20 May 1954
“Six countries started by combining their resources […] to do this, they established rules that were the same for all and common institutions to which the United States and national parliaments granted an authority delegation. This method is quite new. It leads to community decisions thanks to a permanent dialogue between the European Commission and a Council where the national governments are seated. When Europeans realize that the economic questions affecting their daily lives no longer arise in the context of Europe, the view that they have of their countries’ development, as well as Europe’s, will change.”
Action Committee Resolution, Berlin, 9 May 1965
“[In 1952] I knew that above all, the example that we set […] would have a significance far surpassing the CECA and would last much longer than it. If we succeeded in proving that men belonging to different countries could read the same book, work on the same problem with the same documents, and yield ineffective any ulterior motives or useless suspicions, we will have contributed to changing the course of relationships between nations.”
Memoires, Fayard, 1976, page 452.
“If it takes a lot of time to come to power, it takes a short amount of time to explain to those who are way out of present difficulties: there is a language that they gladly hear at a critical moment. At this moment where ideas are lacking, they accept yours with gratitude, provided that you leave them paternity. Since they have the risks, they need the laurels.”
Memories, page 273.
“If it isn’t always useful to tell everything to everyone, it is indispensible to tell everyone the same thing. Confidence is the price, and I never got anything, or at least attempted to get anything, without confidence.”
Memories, page 488.
“When we decided upon the goal that we want to reach, we must act without making assumptions about the risks of not achieving it. As long as you didn’t try it, you can’t say that nothing is impossible.”
Memoires, page 373.
“The sovereign nations of the past are no longer provided a framework where they can resolve the problems of today. And the community itself is only one step away from the forms of organization of tomorrow’s world.”
Memoires, page 617.