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JEAN MONNET, a man of conviction

Devoted to public service, Jean Monnet pursued the same ideal throughout his life: ‘a union among people’.

His philosophy was to bring people together around a common goal. This simple idea guided his actions during the two global conflicts and later in launching and pursuing the construction of the European Community.

Jean Monnet was a tireless man of action Pragmatic and determined as he was, he also understood the importance of words. Every letter, every document had to be supremely effective; he could draft and redraft dozens of times until he achieved the necessary conciseness and clarity.

As the inspiration behind the European Community project, Monnet was very careful in choosing to work with people who could help to develop and deliver his vision. The ‘Monnet method’ was therefore mainly about getting people together around a table to encourage dialogue and work together to identify solutions to shared problems.

We are not making a coalition of states, but uniting people

Speech by Jean Monnet – Washington, 30 April 1952

When one has decided one’s objective it is necessary to act without making assumptions about the risk of not succeeding. As long as you have not tried a thing, you cannot say it is impossible

Memoirs

Nine versions [of the Schuman Declaration] were drafted between Sunday 16 April and Saturday 6 May. I don’t know if that is a lot or not a lot – my only rule in these matters is to work as long as it takes

Memoirs

Europe will not be made all at once, or according to a single plan. It will be built through concrete achievements which first create a de facto solidarity

Schuman Declaration, 1950

We should start by setting up “common foundations for economic development,” first for coal and steel, then for other areas

Memoirs

The power of simple ideas disarms mistrust, which is the main source of misunderstandings between peoples

Memoirs

Equality is essential in the relationship between peoples. Peace cannot be sustainable if it is based on discrimination

Memoirs

I walk in my garden with my visitors. I go down to the little house at the bottom of the meadow’ [...] ‘I have known this garden for thirty years and I have come back to it every evening […].

Memoirs

I don’t claim to be a tree expert, a birdwatcher...’ he acknowledges in his memoirs. ‘They are the natural setting for my thoughts, a form of poetry for me

Memoirs