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A false claim about the Spanish centre-right's role in the European construction

Politics
Fact-check

Newtral, Spain

22 May 2019, Updated: 24 May 2019

A false claim about the Spanish centre-right's role in the European constructionCC-BY 2.0 / PP

The President of the Partido Popular (PP) has attributed the foundation of the EU to its centre-right European People’s Party grouping. This claim is FALSE because among those who pushed forward the institution were members of other European political families.

The President of the Partido Popular, Pablo Casado, was campaigning on Monday (13th May) in La Rioja. During his speech, he alluded to links between his party and the foundation of the EU, claiming that behind the early establishment of the institution was the European People’s Party and their sister parties: “The EPP is the party that founded Europe”. He provided references to back up this claim to those leaders who ended up playing key roles in Europe’s birth, such as Adenauer and Schuman.

The fathers of the EU

The European Union states on its website that it has sixteen “EU pioneers”: eleven men and five women that, according to the European Parliament’s Communications Office, represent the founding principles of the EU. Through this webpage, one can access the biographies of these figures and their political affiliations.

Between them are people who did not form part of the EPP in Europe: Melina Mercouri (Greek PASOK), Ursula Hirschmann (German SDP), Sicco Mansholt (Dutch Labour Party), Paul-Henri Spaak (Belgian Socialists), Altiero Spinelli (belonging to the Italian European Federalist Movement), Simone Veil (French Liberal Democratic and Reformist Group) and Louise Weiss (French Democratic Party).

On the other hand, those that had political links or relations with the EPP include Konrad Adenauer, Joseph Bech, Winston Churchill, Alcide de Gasperi, Robert Schuman, Nicole Fontaine and Walter Hallstein.

A regular Partido Popular argument

It is not the first time that, in this campaign, a PP member has presumed the relationship between the party and the origin of the institution. Casado himself repeated it in Valencia on Saturday, affirming that “this- in reference to the PP- is the founding party of the EU”. In turn, Isabel Garcia Tejerina also repeated the claim in a press conference last Tuesday: “The founding fathers of the European Union, when they came together, belonged to the EPP family.”

In both cases Newtral contacted the PP to find out on what grounds the two were basing their claims: in the case of the campaign director for the ‘Europeans’ (Tejerina) she used the same sources to show that EPP members were among those who can be counted as ‘founders’ of the EU, though not exclusively; while in the case of the Pablo Casado, he was apparently referencing the Popular Party family but no more.

Pablo Casado’s claim that the “PP is the party that founded Europe” is FALSE because among those who established the institution were members of other European political families.

Translation by Albie Mills /// Vox Europ

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