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In 1950, the French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman proposed that, beginning with integration of French and German coal and steel production, there should be "an organisation open to the participation of the other countries of Europe", where "solidarity in production" would make war "not merely unthinkable, but materially impossible".The Treaty of Paris 1951 created the first European Coal and Steel Community, signed by France, West Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Italy, with Jean Monnet as its President.A separate treaty was signed for a European Atomic Energy Community to manage nuclear production.
In the East, the Soviet Union had installed dictatorial governments, controlling East Germany, and the rest of Eastern Europe.
Although Stalin died in 1953 and the new general secretary Nikita Khrushchev had denounced him in 1956, The EU evolved from the Coal and Steel Community of 6 member states, to a union of 28 member states in 2013.
In 1517, the Protestant Reformation triggered a hundred years of crisis and instability.
Martin Luther nailed a list of demands to the church door of Wittenberg, King Henry VIII declared a unilateral split from Rome with the Act of Supremacy 1534, and conflicts flared across the Holy Roman Empire until the Peace of Augsburg 1555 guaranteed each principality the right to its chosen religion (cuius regio, eius religio).
The EU has a population of 510 million people, the largest combined economy in the world, and a very high rate of human development.
A recipient of the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize, the EU is committed to "human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights".
People are entitled to participate through the Parliament, and their national governments in shaping the legislation the EU makes.
The Commission has the initiative for legislation, the Council of the European Union represents member state governments, the Parliament is elected by European citizens, while the Court of Justice is meant to uphold the rule of law and human rights.
In the Renaissance, medieval trade flourished in organisations like the Hanseatic League, stretching from English towns like Boston and London, to Frankfurt, Stockholm and Riga.
These traders developed the lex mercatoria, spreading basic norms of good faith and fair dealing through their business.
The Merger Treaty 1965 finally placed the ECSC and Euratom within the EEC.