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Post Is the Jean Monnet Quote Apocryphal?
Created by John Eipper on 05/23/16 8:00 AM

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Is the Jean Monnet Quote Apocryphal? (Angel Vinas, Belgium, 05/23/16 8:00 am)

With my very sincere apologies to John Eipper, I still think that the alleged Jean Monnet quote may be bogus. The reference in azquotes doesn't give any source for it. I´ve looked at French Web pages and found a selection of quotes from Monnet´s memoirs here:


As you´ll see the theme of these quotes is strictly contradictory to the one in azquotes. One cannot trust everything that is available on the Internet.

JE comments:  I also heard back from John Heelan, who writes:

"The following quote is often attributed to Jean Monnet; in fact it is a paraphrase of a characterization of Monnet's intentions by British Conservative Adrian Hilton:

"'Europe's nations should be guided towards a super state without their people understanding what is happening. This can be accomplished by successive steps each disguised as having an economic purpose, but which will eventually and irreversibly lead to federation.'"

[JE]:  The above contains a footnote that links to the page below.  Of note is the following comment:  "The fact is that Monnet would have had no argument with the sentiments expressed in the quote."  It's time for me to eat some crow:  the azquotes page I cited yesterday was wrong.  It didn't quote Monnet; it quoted from what his "sentiments" should have been.  This is a bizarre approach to history, and opens up a whole new avenue of the notable and quotable.  "Things Lincoln [Churchill, Mark Twain, Oscar Wilde...] should have said."

Adrian Hilton:  that's a WAISly name in at least two ways.


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  • Jean Monnet, Again (John Heelan, -UK 05/24/16 3:34 AM)
    A further comment on Jean Monnet. Here's a quote from 3 April 1952: "The fusion of economic functions would compel nations to fuse their sovereignty into that of a single European State."

    The quote I cited on May 21st is often misascribed to Jean Monnet. In fact, as I pointed out yesterday, it is a paraphrase of a characterization of Monnet's intentions by British Conservative Adrian Hilton:

    "Europe's nations should be guided towards a super state without their people understanding what is happening. This can be accomplished by successive steps each disguised as having an economic purpose, but which will eventually and irreversibly lead to federation."

    Monnet is reported to have expressed somewhat similar sentiments, but without the notion of intentional deception, saying "Via money, Europe could become political in five years," and "the current communities should be completed by a Finance Common Market which would lead us to European economic unity. Only then would ... the mutual commitments make it fairly easy to produce the political union which is the goal."

    See Adrian Hilton, The Principality and Power of Europe, 1997.

    In 1960 the Lord Chancellor advised Edward Heath that entering the EEC "is the first step on the road which leads ... to the fully federal state." But Heath told us, "there are some in this country who fear that in going into Europe, we shall in some way sacrifice independence and sovereignty. These fears I need hardly say are completely unjustified."

    Yet when asked later (1990) if he wanted "a United States of Europe," he replied, "Of course, yes."

    JE comments:  I never realized that Mr Heath lived so long.  He died in 2005, at the age of 89.

    It is worth of note that monetary union is cited above as the linchpin of a European "superstate."  Is this primarily a British belief?

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    • Monetary Union and the European "Superstate" (Angel Vinas, Belgium 05/24/16 10:48 AM)
      The EU motto could be paraphrased by another expression put forward by a Frenchman: "L´Europe se fera par la monnaie ou ne se fera pas."

      However, all this was said when the EU had reached its geographical limits under Cold War conditions. As soon as enlargement towards the Central and Eastern European countries was completed, the idea floundered although it has never been repudiated.

      The issue is which kind of Europe?

      After the British referendum, some more clarity will be achieved.

      The fact that Europe isn´t on the way to become a "super-state" is shown in its inability to cope with the accumulation of crises plaguing the member states and the EU machinery. Nationalism and xenophobia aren´t rampant. They´re being exhibited shamelessly.

      Under these conditions, for some it wouldn´t be a drama if the UK were to exit. The challenge then would be to build a more integrated but smaller Europe. This isn´t an easy task either. However, with a half-divided UK within the Union, other people think that the identity problem of the EU would not disappear.

      Obviously no sensible politician in office would express this sentiment aloud but it´s there in the background.

      A German axiom might come to people´s mind: Besser ein Ende mit Schrecken als ein Schrecken ohne Ende. Let´s wait and see. None of us can predetermine the future.

      JE comments:  In a sense the Ende mit Schrecken would be a "yes" on Brexit.  This would bring clarity and (to use an overused word), "closure."  Should the UK vote to stay, how would the uncertainty be any less, say, a year from now?  Three years?  Schrecken ohne Ende.

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    • Monetary Union, Ordoliberalism, and a European "Superstate" (John Heelan, -UK 05/25/16 4:35 AM)
      JE commented on 24 May: "It is worthy of note that monetary union is cited above as the linchpin of a European 'superstate.' Is this primarily a British belief?"

      The following article in Foreign Policy magazine suggest not.


      JE comments: The FP piece raises a central paradox of the EU: if Eurozone governance isn't working, why assume that what is needed is more of it?

      Another sticking point is the incompatibility of economic worldviews in Berlin and Paris.  Germany embraces ordoliberalism (the belief that state institutions can ensure the "freest" possible markets), while France is Keynesian.

      On German ordoliberalism (and other forms of liberalism compared), see this excellent 2011 post from Alain de Benoist:


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