To Simone Veil, the Young Europeans are grateful

, by Les Jeunes Européens - France, Translated by Lorène Weber

All the versions of this article: [English] [français]

To Simone Veil, the Young Europeans are grateful
Simone Veil’s burial at the Panthéon, Paris, 1st July 2018. CC - Flickr

Simone Veil and her husband Antoine were buried in Paris Panthéon on 1st July. The Young European Federalists in France (JEF France) wanted to express their gratitude to Simone Veil and pay tribute to her action for women’s rights and the construction of a political European union.

A women’s rights activist

First woman to become a minister under the French 5th Republic, Simone Veil contributed to the emancipation of women in France. In 1975, Simone Veil pushed forward the law for the legalisation of abortion. Despite virulent attacks, Simone Veil led this fight with balance, forcefulness and dignity.

By this fight and her constant commitment for equality between men and women, she remains an inspiring figure for European youth, men and women, who are still campaigning today to reach this objective and block any backsliding.

Her action for the emancipation of the European Parliament

She did not only shine on the French political scene, but also asserted her line on the European one. Firmly pro-European, she was determined to give a new impetus to this historic political project. In 1979, she took over the Presidency of a real European Parliament, whose members are elected to direct universal suffrage. Her lasting work for the assertion of this institution’s powers and the conquest of new prerogatives, and her support for the Spinelli project to reform the European treaties – for the European Union to emerge – are testament of her action in favour of an ever closer union among the peoples of Europe.

She left this assembly in 1993, but did not relax in her efforts for the construction of a European political union. In 2005, she openly campaigned for the adoption of the European constitutional Treaty and multiplied the acts of support to what she considers being the most beautiful post-war project.

Her commitment for the remembrance of the Holocaust

The climax of her commitment reminds us the dark hours of her youth, the ones of suffering in death camps. In 2001, she took over the Presidency of the Foundation for the Remembrance of the Holocaust, at a time when France was living a resurgence of anti-Semitic and nationalist theories. She carried on this mandate until 2007. In 2008, she entered under the cupola, sitting among the immortals of the Académie française. Simone Veil won the heart and admiration of the French and of the Europeans. Upon her burial in Paris Panthéon, JEF France wish to express their gratitude to this woman who will never stop inspiring generations of Europeans.

Translator’s note: 76 French personalities (writers, scientists, members of the resistance) lie in Paris Panthéon. In 1992, Simone Veil declared: “The fact that no woman is lying in Panthéon is a denial of what women brought to the nation.” Now, Simone Veil is the fifth woman buried here, with Sophie Berthelot, Marie Curie, Geneviève de Gaulle-Anthonioz and Germaine Tillion.

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