The truth about Jean Monnet

Jean Monnet

By Richard Laming

Published in the Daily Telegraph, 5 July 2007

Sir, Tom Bliss (Letters, July4) quotes Jean Monnet as saying that the truth about Europe must be avoided. He never said such a thing. Indeed, he was the founder of the Action Committee for a United States of Europe, so he can hardly be said to have been hiding his objectives.

The point about the Monnet method is that it was a rebuke to those people who imagined that European unity could be achieved by a simple constitutional act. No, it depends on public consent and understanding, which will develop only gradually, if at all.

Each step towards European unity must make sense in its own terms, to be acceptable to those who do not support the idea of federalism, as well as being part of a longer-term vision. Each step is discrete, and at any point an individual member state could say “enough”.

Richard Laming, Director, Federal Union, London SE1

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