Discovering the spirit of the European Defence Community, 70 years on

Far from being pacifists, the founding fathers of European integration understood that, in the long term, a political/military union – and not just a legal/economic one – was crucial to safeguarding Europe’s newly established freedom.

In many ways, the war in Ukraine now brings to a close the long historical cycle of European strategic disengagement that began with the failure of the EDC in 1954 and was later superseded (but only on paper) by the development of a European Security and Defence Policy from the 1990s onwards.

In fact, the global situation in 2022 is more akin to the very dangerous world of 1950 – when the Korean War heightened existing tensions between the Western and Communist blocs and consolidated the structures that would animate the Cold War – than that of 1954 when, following the death of Stalin, the conditions for more peaceful coexistence between the superpowers started to ripen.

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