He was France’s Minister of Foreign Relations when he announced the forming of the European Steel and Coal Community on May 9, 1950. The move is considered a first step towards the creation of the European Union.
Schuman was also a key negotiator for the North Atlantic Treaty and the European Coal and Steel Community. He served as the first President of the European Parliament which named him “Father of Europe” when he left office.
Schuman died in the Diocese of Matz in 1963. His cause for sainthood began there over 30 years ago.
Last year, in a letter signed Oct. 22, Pope Francis discussed Schuman in the context of contemporary Europe.
“We can either continue to pursue the path we have taken in the past decade, yielding to the temptation to autonomy and thus to ever greater misunderstanding, disagreement and conflict, or we can rediscover the path of fraternity that inspired and guided the founders of modern Europe, beginning precisely with Robert Schuman,” he said.
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The pope’s letter praised the Schuman Declaration, which proposed a Europe-wide community for coal and steel production.
Pope Francis called the speech “an event of capital importance that inspired the gradual process of the continent’s integration, making it possible to overcome the animosity resulting from the two world wars.”
“Today, as many in Europe look to its future with uncertainty, others look to Europe with hope, convinced that it still has something to offer to the world and to humanity,” the pope continued. “The same conviction inspired Robert Schuman, who realized that ‘the contribution which an organized and living Europe can bring to civilization is indispensable to the maintenance of peaceful relations.’ It is a conviction that we ourselves can share, setting out from shared values and rooted in the history and culture of this land.”