NR Digital

Brave New Europe

by Daniel Hannan
The Passage to Europe: How a Continent Became a Union, by Luuk van Middelaar (Yale, 392 pp., $40)

On April 18, 1951, in the French foreign ministry’s Salon de l’Horloge, six men gathered to sign an accord unlike any other. The Treaty of Paris, which created the European Coal and Steel Community — the first direct ancestor of today’s European Union — did not just bind its members as states. Rather, it created a new legal order, superior to national jurisdictions.

The six signatories, scarred by the horrors through which their generation had passed, were looking forward to a time when it would be impossible to wage a European war because the materials needed to sustain one — coal and steel — would be under the control of a supranational bureaucracy.

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