Biography of Paul Henri Spaak (1899-1972)

Belgian politician and lawyer. He was born in Schaerbeek (1899) and died in the city of Brussels (1972). He studied law and, after his degree, worked as a labour lawyer from 1921. From a young age joined the Belgian Socialist Party, he was elected Deputy in 1932. Just three years later, he was appointed Minister of transport. In 1938 he was head of the Government, thus becoming the first Socialist who reached this position in Belgium. During World War II, on the occasion of the German occupation of the country, the Government in exile was established in London. In this cabinet he held the post of Minister of Foreign Affairs.

At the end of the conflict he returned to Belgium, where he was appointed a Deputy Prime Minister, a position that remained during 1945 and 1946. In the latter year he was elected first President of the Assembly of the Organization of the United Nations (UN). Until 1949 he acted as head of Government on two occasions more. During all this time, he negotiated with the Netherlands and Luxembourg the creation of the economic union of the Benelux countries, supported the entry of their country into NATO and the European integration through the SOEC. In 1950 he was elected President of the SOEC and of the Council of Europe, as well as, two years later, of the Parliamentary Assembly of the ECSC. Again was Foreign Minister between 1954 and 1957, time in which he directed the Committee of experts that studied the economic unification of Europe and signed the Treaty of Rome, the founding Charter of two new European Communities: the EEC (European Economic Community) and the EURATOM (European Atomic Energy Community).

An advocate of close cooperation with the United States, Spaak was Secretary general of NATO from 1957 until 1961, period in which was again appointed Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Belgium (from 1962 until 1966). From that moment, he abandoned all political activity to devote himself entirely to the world of business. However, in 1969 he published his work unfinished battles, in which reflected the road travelled so far in pursuit of the European Union, also analyzing all aspects that remained pending and the difficulties that undoubtedly arise. His thoughts were of great importance, because they were so lucid and visionary as critical. Of equal interest were his memoirs, published subsequently. In the year 1957, in recognition of his work of impeller in favour of the creation of the European Union, Charlemagne received the prestigious award. Not in vain, historiography has recognized le as one of the so-called parents of Europe, along with characters from the likes of Aristide Briand, Richard N. Coudenhove-Kalergi, Gustav Stressemann contemporary yours like Jean Monnet, Robert Schuman or Konrad Adenauer.

EDMC