S.M.I.L.E. project — Sharing Messina Ideal a Lesson for all Europe

Aims of the project

After the failure of the European Defence Community (EDC) in 1954, the Messina Conference from 1 to 3 June 1955 was a turning point in the revival of the European integration process. In Messina, the Foreign Ministers of the six Member States of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) — Joseph Bech for Luxembourg, Antoine Pinay for France, State Secretary for Foreign Affairs Walter Hallstein for the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG), Paul-Henri Spaak for Belgium and Johan Willem Beyen for the Netherlands — expressed their wish to rethink European integration. They particularly focused on two areas: the development of new, partial integration — especially in the areas of transport, conventional energy and nuclear energy — and the establishment of broader economic integration through the creation of a common market.

The revival that started in Messina led to the signing of the Rome Treaties by the six ECSC Member States. These Treaties simultaneously established the European Economic Community (EEC) and the European Atomic Energy Community (EAEC or Euratom).

The main aim of the S.M.I.L.E. project is to help raise awareness of the importance of this major event in the light of current European issues so that we can draw lessons about the revival of the European Union. The project is also geared towards the new European Union Member States with the aim of raising awareness of the ideals and dynamics that marked the early days of the European integration process.

The project is based around a series of activities for young people from the six founding countries of the European Community (Italy, France, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg), including a competition followed by an award ceremony, a study trip for the prize winners, training sessions, a multimedia exhibition and the creation of a dedicated website for the event. In late May 2015, the town of Messina will also host a large-scale conference to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Messina Conference and the revival of the European integration process.