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Christian Democrat Internationalism

Its Action in Europe and Worldwide from post World War II until the 1990s- Volume III: The European People’s Party- Continental and Social Cooperation


Edited By Jean-Dominique Durand

From September 2011 to December 2013 the Luigi Sturzo Institute in Rome along with the Centre of European Studies planned a series of international scientific meetings to study one highly important political subject: the commitment of Christian Democrats on an international level. This project has been organised thanks to the support of the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, and the International Labour Organisation.
Internationalism is a Key Element for the Christian Democrat Identity. In fact, CD is a political movement of thought and action whose roots lie in a specific ideology: to use the German word Weltanschauung, it is based on a particular framework of ideas and beliefs that leads the party to interpret the relationship between men and nations from an international point of view, ensuring the human being a central place in every social policy.
The Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel, wrote in a Message to these Meetings:
«We can consider ourselves very lucky that 50 years ago forward-thinking personalities founded the World Union of Christian Democrats. From then on, the world, through globalisation, has been deeply changed. Events that take place in other continents immediately impact on our lives. We will be able to protect ourselves from terrorism, achieve economic and social security, and defend our environment only through common global action. This is the task of our generation: to overcome these global challenges. […] Our parties and our political organisations share a common Christian ideal of man. This ideal, grounded on the inalienability of human dignity, is at the core of one important value: to this man has linked a social and economic model that combines economic success and social responsibility.»
Her message clearly shows the need to use historical knowledge, to return to and explore a rich and challenging past as well as to develop a reflection on and a course of action for the present and the future.
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A European People’s Party for a Europeanist Conscience



University of Turin, Italy

The following presentation intends to offer food for thought concerning some stages of the development of a Europeanist conscience, of which the European People’s Party has become both mouthpiece and interpreter, with particular reference to the party’s parliamentary group – leaving aside other components such as youth or women, to which other specific contributions collected in this volume are dedicated.

The proposed reconstruction will necessarily be brief, and will take for granted various elements that have already been developed by a consolidated historiography and are partly contained in two previous conferences, the proceedings of which have recently been published1. The presentation will focus on three moments: the founding stage of the party; the conceptual second thoughts announced in the early 1990s; some questions that remained open at the beginning of the third millennium.

The Origins of the European People’s Party

As is widely known, the EPP was born under the presidency of Belgian Prime Minister Leo Tindemans as a federation of Christian Democratic parties, inspired by Europe’s founding fathers, with the aim of strengthening their relations within the European community, especially in view of the 1979 universal suffrage elections2. ← 35 | 36 →

The party’s political programme, unanimously adopted during the first congress – which took place in Brussels in March 1978 – indicated its goal from the outset: “We, the European People’s Party, Federation of Christian Democratic Parties of the European Community, desire...

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