Europe, giving shape to an idea
Europe has existed down the centuries as a myth, a geographical area, an idea, a source of identity, and much else besides. Recently it has taken more concrete shape in the form of a Union of member states working together within a unique legal and political framework in pursuit of a common destiny. An awareness of the need to harness the political forces of Europe within some sort of framework, whether that take the form of a treaty, founding charter or constitution, has existed for a long time. It first appears with Dante, since when the search has continued throughout the centuries until... after the Second World War when the founding treaties of the European Community, and subsequently European Union, took shape. During this time thinkers from very different backgrounds reflected on, and wrote about, how to bring peace and reconciliation to the continent of Europe. This book aims to present a part of European history which is little known - of successive attempts to give concrete shape to that ambitious vision. In doing so, it shows that the objective of Europe at peace with itself has roots which go back deep in history, and that many of the ideas put forward to achieve that objective over the years contained the seeds of the European Union as it exists today.