Germany to propose common EU history lessons

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British school pupils could soon be learning history from a European Union textbook under a new proposal from Berlin to be tabled next week.

Germany is to urge the drawing up of a "European history book", to be taught in all schools to foster a common cultural identity across the EU.

The idea, said to have the backing of Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, is to be the flagship education proposal of Berlin's EU presidency. Annette Schavan, the federal education minister, will set out her plans at a meeting of EU education ministers in Heidelberg.

...The project faces opposition. Graham Brady, the Tory Europe spokesman, described the move as "typical bureaucratic mission creep".

"The teaching of our history is vitally important for any nation and particularly so for Britain, which has so much to be proud of," he said. "We should not under any circumstances lose control of our educational responsibilities."...

The European Commission is backing Berlin's suggestion to model an EU history textbook on an existing French-German project.

The Franco-German Histoire Geschichte was launched last May, with a first edition covering history since the end of the Second World War. The text is taught as part of the higher curriculum in both French and German schools and has the expressed aim of overcoming old enmities...

Ten historians, five from each country, contributed to the book, which is published in both German and French and retails for €25 (£17).

But political differences between Germany and France have surfaced over the role of the United States in Europe...How to deal with Communism has been another problem...Other areas where French and German historians could not agree was on French colonial history and the Christian church.

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