Monday, 5 May 2014

18 April 1951: European Coal and Steel Community (Treaty of Paris)

European Coal and Steel Community (1952-2002)

The European Coal and Steel Community or ECSC ("Communauté européenne du charbon et de l'acier" or "CECA") was a supranational institution founded by the Treaty of Paris of 18 April 1951.

Six countries signed the Treaty: France, West Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg and Italy. The UK did not want to join as it rejected the idea of a supranational authority. All the countries of the ECSC joined the EEC in 1957.

The economic aim of the ECSC was to rationalize production of coal and steel, and create jobs and a single market for those commodities within the countries of the Community.

Its political aim was to unite the countries of Europe, making war between them theoretically impossible (coal and steel were of symbolic value too as they were main resources to make weapons).

It was hoped that the ECSC would encourage the creation of other democratic supranational communities, each dealing with particular sectors (the economy and trade, defence, politics). In this way, European unification would be gradually achieved.

The 50-year Treaty expired in 2002. The ECSC was quite successful economically (steel production increased, working conditions improved, etc.), as well as politically: it acted as the model for the communities and institutions that were subsequently set up.

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