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A common defence fund should be the next big step for Europe

By Derek Coombs   December 2003

Shortly after the second world war, Jean Monnet proposed a common trading bloc for the major western European powers. Monnet persuaded Robert Schuman, then French foreign minister, to back his plan for a common coal and steel community, which was subsequently agreed by six European nations. This was the first move towards European union and helped to make war between the European powers unthinkable. The other crucial benefit, one that was probably not evident at the time, was the emergence of a trading bloc of European states that could eventually match America economically.

Western Europe is the foundation of…

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