Robert Schuman is regarded as one of the founders of the European Communities. On 9 May 1950, then French foreign minister, he presented his proposal on the creation of an organised Europe, indispensable to the maintenance of peaceful relations, when revealing in a press conference at Quai d’Orsay his plan to pool the French and German coal and steel industries under a common High Authority.
The Schuman Plan subsequently led to the creation of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC). The idea came originally from Jean Monnet and reflected a functionalist approach, according to which the ESCS was considered only as a first stage of a European integration (“Europe will not be made all at once”). Belgium, France, Luxembourg, Italy, the Netherlands, and Germany subscribed to the Schuman declaration on 3 June 1950. In commemoration of the Schuman Declaration the 9th May is today celebrated as “Europe Day”.
Between 1958 and 1960 he presided over the Parliamentary Assembly of the European Communities.
See also our “EU History Pages” (EP Internal)
Although born in the suburb of Clausen, Luxembourg City, Robert Schuman was German by virtue of ‘jus sanguinis’; he took up French Nationality only in 1919, after Alsace had been retaken by France. In 1940 he was arrested by the Gestapo for acts of resistance and protestation and secretly sent to jail in Metz. He escaped in 1942 and joined the French Resistance.
The Robert Schuman Centre for European Studies and Research was founded in 1990 and is located in Luxembourg-Clausen, in the house where Robert Schuman was born.
Schuman was an intensely religious man and was strongly influenced by the writings of Pope Pius XII. He was a Knight of the Order of Pope Pius XII.
Robert Schuman received the Karlpreis in 1958 (Aachen).
One of the European Parliament buildings in Luxembourg is named after him.
The following is a quotation from Robert Schuman shortly before his death on 4 September 1963: “Being a man in the frontier, the hard lessons of history have taught me not to trust hurried improvisations or overly ambitious projects. But at the same time, they have taught us that when an objective has been duly reflected upon and based in the reality of facts and the higher interests of men, it is capable of leading into new initiatives, maybe even revolutionary ones. But this objective carries with it – even when it breaks the established order – secular antagonisms and old routines, in order to make us remain firm and persevere”.
Robert Schuman (1886-1963)
French Secretary of State for refugees: 1940 –
French Minister of Finance: 1946 – 1947
Council President / Head of Government in France: 1948 – 1952
French Foreign Minister: 1948 – 1952
President of the European Movement: 1955 – 1961
President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the European Communities: 1958 – 1960
Member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the European Communities: 1958 – 1962
Biographies in the EPRS Library (EP internal)
Eminent Europeans : personalities who shaped contemporary Europe / edited by Martyn Bond, Julie Smith and William Wallace. London: Greycoat Press, 1996
Les fondateurs de l’Europe Unie selon le projet de Jean Monnet: Robert Schuman, Konrad Adenauer, Alcide De Gasperi / Giuseppe Audisio, Alberto Chiara ; préfaces de Helmut Kohl et de Romano Prodi ; traduit de l’italien par Anaïs Bokobza. Paris: Salvator, 2004
Robert Schuman: ein Porträt / Lutz Hermann. Freudenstadt: Lutzeyer, 1968
Robert Schuman: Architekt des neuen Europas / Rudolf Mittendorfer, Alain Poher. Hildesheim: Olms, 1983
Robert Schuman: la jeunesse et les debuts politiques d’un grand Européen de 1886 a 1924 / Christian Pennera. Sarreguemines: Ed. Pierron, 1985
Robert Schuman: une âme pour l’Europe / René Lejeune. Paris Fribourg: Editions Saint-Paul, 1986
Robert Schuman: Christ und Staatsmann / Victor Conzemius. Hamburg: Wittig, 1986
Robert Schuman: l’Europe par la reconciliation franco- allemande / Henry Beyer, Henri Rieben. Lausanne: Fondation Jean Monnet pour l’Europe. Centre de Recherches Europeennes, 1986
Robert Schuman / G. Huen-De Florentiis. Milano: Edizioni Milano Nuova, 1964
Robert Schuman / Robert Rochefort; postface de A.-M. Carré. Paris: Les éditions du cerf, 1968
Robert Schuman depute: 1919-1924 / Christian Pennera. These pour le doctorat de 3eme cycle: Histoire du XX siecle, 1984
Robert Schuman et l’Europe / Rene Hostiou, G. Dupuis. Paris: Cujas, 1969
Überwindung der Grenzen – Chancen des Föderalismus?: Robert Schuman zum Gedenken / Fritz Hellwig. Melle: Knoth, 1986
Robert Schuman: homme d’Etat : [Mille] 1886-1963 / Raymond Poidevin. Paris: Imprimerie Nationale, 1986
Bibliography in the EPRS Library (EP internal)
Un changement d’espérance :la déclaration du 9 mai 1950 : Jean Monnet – Robert Schuman / Henri Rieben … [et al.] ; Fondation Jean Monnet pour l’Europe, Centre de Recherches Européennes, 2000
L’Europe de Robert Schuman / Grégoire Eldin, Pierre Fournié, Agnès Moinet-Le Menn… [et al.] ; avec la collaboration d’Isabelle Richefort, 2001
Pour l’Europe / Robert Schuman. Paris: Nagel, 
Origines et élaboration du “Plan Schuman / Robert Schuman. Bruges: Imprimerie Sainte-Catherine, 1953
Schuman plan collection (University of Leiden)