France: Clement Beaune discusses ‘test for Europe’
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The French European Affairs Minister and close ally to Emmanuel Macron praised Robert Schuman, one of the founders of modern European integration, on the day of his birthday. The staunch europhile tweeted: “Robert Schuman was born 135 years ago!
“We owe him a lot.
“On May 9, 1950, he delivered a founding speech, daring, a little crazy, for the construction of Europe.
“A political project, which deserves to be defended and continued…”
But the comments backfired as it sparked the fury of French citizens lashing out against the EU.
A French Twitter user blasted: “It will end like the USSR and it will collapse.
“Popular pressures to want to regain their nations and sovereignties stolen by your EU.
“For me it is a sad date. The one who will start a future struggle for us, to put an end to this crazy project which deserves neither to be defended nor continued.
“An absurdity from a false country.
“The common market was sufficient and that is it.”
Someone else pointed out: “German until the age of 32 (did not choose to be French).
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“Struck with national indignity at the Liberation for collaboration. Etc.
“Is the EU really the Europe of dreams or is it the pursuit of ‘modern’ continental federalism (1920-30s)?”
Another person said: “May your rotten European Union end up like the USSR!”
Mr Schuman’s work was instrumental in the founding of today’s European institutions, such as the European Union.
Mr Schuman, who served as French prime minister and foreign minister in the immediate post-World War II period, also played a role in the founding of NATO.
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In 1950, the “Schuman Plan” proposed a supranational community for coal and steel.
It evolved to become the European Economic Community in 1957 and the European Union in 1993.
Along with Italy’s Alcide de Gasperi, France’s Jean Monnet and Germany’s Konrad Adenauer, he is considered one of the “Fathers of Europe” for promoting democratic, supranational principles to thwart the possibility of another war on the continent.
A devout Catholic, Mr Schuman’s role in trying to break the cycle of wars in Europe has been praised by several popes.
Earlier this month, Pope Francis put Mr Schuman on the path to sainthood in the Roman Catholic Church.
A Vatican statement said the Pope approved a decree recognising the “heroic virtues” of Schuman, who died in 1963.
The recognition is one of the earliest stages of the long process that can lead to canonisation.
Pope Francis’ approval of the decree means Mr Schuman now has the title “venerable”.
One miracle would have to be attributed to Mr Schuman for him to be beatified and then another for him to be made a saint.
The Roman Catholic Church teaches that only God performs miracles, but that saints who are believed to be with God in heaven intercede on behalf of people who pray to them.
A miracle is usually the medically inexplicable healing of a person.
The France-based Institute Saint Benoit has been promoting sainthood for Mr Schuman for several decades.
Its theologians and historians heard witnesses and examined all of his writing for documentation that was sent to the Vatican and that resulted in the Pope’s decree.
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