's Encyclopedia of Stamps and Philatelic Links

A Modern Background to the European Union
, AJWard65

Europa. Great Discoveries. 1994.

Stamps often reflect political dreams and realities. European issues denoted with the 'EUROPA' inscription show, at first, an emerging and, now, the reality of Nepoleon's dream of a 'United States of Europe', of the Russian Czar's inspiration of the institution of 'The Hague' and later 19th Century political visions which have simmered since the days of Pax Romana - 'The Peace of Rome'.

More recently, the U.S. Secretary of State Marshall in a talk at Harvard University on June 5, 1947 outlined a plan to aide in Europe's recovery from the near total devastation of World War II. Of what was initially called 'The Marshall Plan' and later - more officially - 'The European Recovery Plan' (or 'E.R.P.'), he said, "our policy is not directed against any country or doctrine but against hunger, poverty, desperation and chaos."

In January 1948 Marshall personally shepherded the measure through Congress and, immediately, Great Britain and France invited all European natiions, including the Soviets - who refused, to meet to discuss the proposal at the 'Paris Conference' which lasted until September '48.

Joining in the conference at some point throughout the period were: Britain, France, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Greece, Ireland (Eire), Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, The Nederlands, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, Switzeralnd, and Turkey.

Notably absent was Spain. Understandably absent: Germany (East and West), Berlin, Russia and her Soviet satellite states:   Albania, Bulgaria, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Czechoslovakia.

Though the United States Congress was slow to appropriate funds for the E.R.P. she acted quickly when Russia moved to take over Czechoslovakia.

"Later discussions of some sort of United States of Europe and an Atlantic union for mutual defense appear to have sprung from the Paris discussions." 1

Europa stamp. 1956.

"The idea of a 'joint stamp iussue' was advanced in August of 1949 by the council and on September 15, 1956 the six nations which were to sign the Treaty of Rome simultaneously issued the first 13 EUROPA stamps." 3

(It depicts a tower in the form of the 6 letters of the word Europa. Designed by Frenchman Daniel Gonzague. 4)

"The most important step towards ecomonic co-operation and intergration was taken with the Treaty of Rome of March 26, 1957.  The signers were the same six countries that had formed The European Coal and Steel Community (c. 1850 - the dawn of philately - aj.): France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Holland, and Luxembourg. They agreed on the establishment of a Common Market." 2 (or 'European Economic Community' - 'EEC'). It aimed to end trade barries between themselves and create other advantages during a fifteen year developement period during which (1959) the 'Conference Europeane des Administrations des Postes des Telecommunications' (CEPT) was established and has guided the issuance of stamps on the Europa theme every year.  Headquartered in Brussels the ECC began action on January 1, 1957 by lowering tarrifs between all members by 10 percent. In 1968 all Customs duties were dropped and a common tarrif was established for all non-members.

Denmark (by referendum), Britain (after years of indecision - and French resistence) and Ireland (Eire) joined in 1973 . Direct elections were instituted in 1978. Greece was admitted in 1983 and 1986 saw Portugal and Spain in the family. The year 1999 brought a 'common currency' - the 'Euro'. - And there is still hope for those countries now free from the former Soviet Union.



(1) The March of Democracy (7-Volume Set), by James Truslow Adams
©'s 1943-1950 Charles Scribner's Sons - See: Vol. 6, pgs 293-296

(2) The End of the European Era - 1890 to the Present,
Felix Gilbert, 3rd Ed. ©'s 1970-84 W.W. Norton & Co., NY & London; pg 456.

(3) EUROPA CEPT Stamps
by Erwan Kerval, @, 23 rue de la Poste, F-38400 St Martin d'Hères, France
A 'best view' site in our opinion. ('404'; sorry)
And from whose images I 'draw'. (or drew)

(4) Wikipedia's Europa postage stamp
Additional Recommended Reading:

  • Contemporary Europe: A History, Wilkinson and Hughes, Prentice-Hall, Inc.
  • The Story of Civilization, Will (and Ariel) Durant (11 Volume Set), Simon & Schuster
  •     -Vol. III : Caesar and Christ - © 1949
        -Vol. IV : The Age of Faith - © 1950



  • EUROPA CEPT Stamps [EN, FR] (incl. non official issues)
    Offers a free forum to Buy/Sell/Exchange Europa stamps!
    "The aim of this page is to have the list of all people in the world collecting Europa !"
    And features a news report titled,
    Domfil and PostEurop sign joint agreement.
    Domfil is a major thematic catalog producer.

  • Europa Study Unit ATA
    Hank Klos, @,
    P.O. Box 611, Bensenville, IL 60106-0611
    Periodical : Europa News (Bimonthly)

    'Official' Resource:

  • PostEurop (cf.)
    - Features news and a search engine for Europa stamps info.

    Our Additional Resources:

  • Entities Research : Europe
  • See Also: JPP Stamps Wiki, Angela Beesley and Jimmy Wales (co-creators of Wikipedia!)

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