The High Authority (the predecessor to the "European Commission) was a nine-member executive body which governed the Community. The Authority consisted of nine members in office for a term of six years. Eight of these members were appointed by the governments of the six signatories. These eight members then themselves appointed a ninth person to be "President of the High Authority.
Despite being appointed by agreement of national governments acting together, the members were to pledge not to represent their "national interest, but rather took an oath to defend the general interests of the Community as a whole. Their independence was aided by members being barred from having any occupation outside the Authority or having any business interests (paid or unpaid) during their tenure and for three years after they left office. To further ensure impartiality, one third of the membership was to be renewed every two years (article 10).
The Authority's principal innovation was its supranational character. It had a broad area of competence to ensure the objectives of the treaty were met and that the common market functioned smoothly. The High Authority could issue three "types of legal instruments: "Decisions, which were entirely binding laws; "Recommendations, which had binding aims but the methods were left to "member states; and Opinions, which had no legal force.
Up to the merger in 1967, the authority had five Presidents followed by an interim President serving for the final days.
|Picture||President||State||Took office||Left office||Authority|
|""||"Jean Monnet||France||10 August 1952||3 June 1955||"Monnet Authority|
|""||"René Mayer||France||3 June 1955||13 January 1958||"Mayer Authority|
|""||"Paul Finet||Belgium||13 January 1958||15 September 1959||"Finet Authority|
|""||"Piero Malvestiti||Italy||15 September 1959||22 October 1963||"Malvestiti Authority|
|""||"Rinaldo Del Bo||Italy||22 October 1963||6 July 1967||"Del Bo Authority|
|""||"Albert Coppé||Belgium||interim (1 March-5 July 1967)||"Coppé Authority|
The Common Assembly (which later became the "European Parliament) was composed of 78 representatives and exercised supervisory powers over the executive High Authority. The Common Assembly representatives were to be national MPs delegated each year by their Parliaments to the Assembly or directly elected "by universal suffrage" (article 21), though in practice it was the former, as there was no requirement for elections until the "Treaties of Rome and no actual election "until 1979, as Rome required agreement in the Council on the "electoral system first. However, to emphasise that the chamber was not a traditional international organisation composed of representatives of national governments, the Treaty of Paris used the term "representatives of the peoples". The Assembly was not originally specified in the "Schuman Plan because it was hoped the Community would use the institutions (Assembly, Court) of the Council of Europe. When this became impossible because of British objections, separate institutions had to be created. The Assembly was intended as a democratic counter-weight and check to the High Authority, to advise but also to have power to sack the Authority for incompetence, injustice, corruption or fraud. The first "President (akin to a Speaker) was "Paul-Henri Spaak.
The Special Council of Ministers (equivalent to the current "Council of the European Union) was composed of representatives of national governments. The "Presidency was held by each state for a period of three months, rotating between them in alphabetical order. One of its key aspects was the harmonisation of the work of the High Authority and that of national governments, which were still responsible for the state's general economic policies. The Council was also required to issue opinions on certain areas of work of the High Authority. Issues relating only to coal and steel were in the exclusive domain of the High Authority, and in these areas the Council (unlike the modern Council) could only act as a scrutiny on the Authority. However, areas outside coal and steel required the consent of the Council.
The Court of Justice was to ensure the observation of ECSC law along with the interpretation and application of the Treaty. The Court was composed of seven judges, appointed by common accord of the national governments for six years. There were no requirements that the judges had to be of a certain nationality, simply that they be qualified and that their independence be beyond doubt. The Court was assisted by two Advocates General.
The Consultative Committee (similar to the "Economic and Social Committee) had between 30 and 50 members equally divided between producers, workers, consumers and dealers in the coal and steel sector. Again, there were no national quotas, and the treaty required representatives of European associations to organise their own democratic procedures. They were to establish rules to make their membership fully representative for democratic organised civil society. Membership were appointed for two years and were not bound by any mandate or instruction of the organisations which appointed them. The Committee had a plenary assembly, bureau and president. Again, the required democratic procedures were not introduced and nomination of these members remained in the hands of national ministers. The High Authority was obliged to consult the Committee in certain cases where it was appropriate and to keep it informed. The Consultative Committee remained separate (despite the merger of the other institutions) until 2002, when the Treaty expired and its duties were taken over by the Economic and Social Committee (ESC). Despite its independence, the Committee did cooperate with the ESC when they were consulted on the same issue.
Achievements and failures
Its mission (article 2) was general: to "contribute to the expansion of the economy, the development of employment and the improvement of the standard of living" of its citizens. The Community had little effect on coal and steel production, which was influenced more by global trends. Trade between members did increase (tenfold for steel) which saved members' money by not having to import resources from the United States. The High Authority also issued 280 modernization loans to the industry which helped the industry to improve output and reduce costs. Costs were further reduced by the abolition of tariffs at borders.
Among the ECSC's greatest achievements are those on welfare issues. Some mines, for example, were clearly unsustainable without government subsidies. Some miners had extremely poor housing. Over 15 years it financed 112,500 flats for workers, paying US$1,770 per flat, enabling workers to buy a home they could not have otherwise afforded. The ECSC also paid half the occupational redeployment costs of those workers who have lost their jobs as coal and steel facilities began to close down. Combined with regional redevelopment aid the ECSC spent $150 million creating 100,000 jobs, a third of which were for unemployed coal and steel workers. The welfare guarantees invented by the ECSC were extended to workers outside the coal and steel sector by some of its members.
Far more important than creating Europe's first social and regional policy, it is argued that the ECSC introduced European peace. It involved the continent's first European tax. This was a flat tax, a levy on production with a maximum rate of one percent. Given that the European Community countries are now experiencing the longest period of peace in more than seventy years,["citation needed] this has been described as the cheapest tax for peace in history. Another world war, or "world suicide" as Schuman called this threat in 1949, was avoided. In October 1953 Schuman said that the possibility of another European war had been eliminated. Reasoning had to prevail among member states.["citation needed]
However the ECSC failed to achieve several fundamental aims of the Treaty of Paris. It was hoped the ECSC would prevent a resurgence of large coal and steel groups such as the Konzerne, which helped "Adolf Hitler rise to power. In the Cold War trade-offs, the cartels and major companies re-emerged, leading to apparent "price fixing (another element that was meant to be tackled). With a democratic supervisory system the worst aspects of past abuse were avoided with the anti-cartel powers of the Authority, the first international anti-cartel agency in the world. Efficient firms were allowed to expand into a European market without undue domination. Oil, gas, electricity became natural competitors to coal and also broke cartel powers. Furthermore, with the move to oil, the Community failed to define a proper energy policy. The Euratom treaty was largely stifled by de Gaulle and the European governments refused the suggestion of an Energy Community involving electricity and other vectors that was suggested at Messina in 1955. In a time of high inflation and monetary instability ECSC also fell short of ensuring an upward equalisation of pay of workers within the market. These failures could be put down to overambition in a short period of time, or that the goals were merely political posturing to be ignored. It has been argued that the greatest achievements of the European Coal and Steel Community lie in its revolutionary democratic concepts of a supranational Community.
- "Energy Community
- "Energy policy of the European Union
- "Flag of the European Coal and Steel Community
- "History of the European Union
- "History of the Ruhr District
- "Industrial plans for Germany
- "Monnet plan
- "Schuman Declaration
- "Supranational union
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to European Coal and Steel Community.|
- Documents of the European Coal and Steel Community are consultable at the Historical Archives of the EU in Florence
- rtsp://rtsppress.cec.eu.int/Archive/video/mpeg/i000679/i000679.rm (insert address into "RealPlayer) Common Destiny, a period film explaining the Coal and Steel Community, "Europa (web portal)
- Treaty constituting the European Coal and Steel Community, "CVCE
- Schuman info
- The institutions of the European Coal and Steel Community, "CVCE
- France, Germany and the Struggle for the War-making Natural Resources of the Rhineland, "American University
- Ruhr Delegation of the United States of America, Council of Foreign Ministers American Embassy Moscow, 24 March 1947, "Truman Library