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  • Print publication year: 2007
  • Online publication date: July 2009

7 - Deepening integration: the supranational coalition embattled


Tumultuous scenes in the French Assemblée Nationale on 30 August 1954: the Communists and Gaullists get up and sing the ‘Marseillaise’. The Republican Paul Reynaud makes a short speech. Never in its history – he claims – has the parliament of the Fourth Republic rejected a treaty without first giving those who concluded it a chance to defend it. The MRP deputies and some Socialists and Republicans now intonate the national anthem. They shout at the Communists and Gaullists, who attempt to join in, that they should sing ‘Deutschland über alles’ because the creation of a national German army would now be inevitable. This – even by French parliamentary standards – heated political confrontation followed upon the defeat of the European Defence Community (EDC) in the Assemblée Nationale. With a clear majority of 319 against 264 in a procedural vote, the EDC opponents had rejected starting the ratification process for the treaty concluded by the ECSC states on 27 May 1952. At this stage, it was already ratified in the Benelux countries and Germany. Linked to the EDC, and dead with its rejection, was the EPC constitution drafted by the Constitutional Committee of the Ad hoc Assembly in 1952–3. Moreover, the coming into force of the Bonn Conventions of 1952 regarding the full sovereignty of the Federal Republic also hinged on the EDC as the US administration had linked the two issues from the beginning.

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