The operations associated with the Normandy Landings involved a large part of Europe. The period following the end of World War II saw the face of the old continent changed forever. By 8 May 1945, swathes of Europe lay in ruins and its economy was crippled. Up against the Soviet and US heavyweights, Europe had but one option: unite. To carve itself out a new place in the world and to ensure lasting peace.

The founding of the European Union

In 1950, French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman raised the possibility of creating a United Europe. As the first building block, in 1951, the ECSC (European Coal and Steel Community) was decided. The second stage was established with the 1957 Treaty of Rome which gave rise to the European Economic Community (EEC). Finally, in 1992, the EEC officially became the European Union (EU).

Today, the European Union has 28 Member States including the United Kingdom which, despite Brexit, is still a full member of the EU for the time being.


The European Union website

What is the purpose of the European Union (EU) ?

In a nutshell, the European Union is committed to:

  • Safeguarding peace
  • Seeking political unity
  • Ensuring economic and social progress

In the context of the European internal market, the EU oversees various common policies bearing, for example, on agriculture, the environment and the customs union.


Simone Veil was the first woman to become President of the European Parliament. She held this position from 1979 until 1982. Since then, only one other woman has also assumed this role: the Frenchwoman Nicole Fontaine from 1999 until 2002.