High Authority of the European Coal and Steel Community

High Authority of the European Coal and Steel Community

The High Authority was the executive branch of the former European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC). It was created in 1951 and disbanded in 1967 when it was merged into the European Commission.


The High Authority was at the core of the idea of the ECSC. It was to be an independent, supranational, executive checked by a Court of Justice.cite web|title = Treaty establishing the European Coal and Steel Community, ECSC Treaty|publisher=Europa (web portal)|url=http://europa.eu/scadplus/treaties/ecsc_en.htm|accessdate=2007-10-09] There were concerns about this power leading to a Council (of governments) and Parliament (of MPs) to be created to act as a counterweight.cite web|title = European Parliament|publisher=European NAvigator|url=http://www.ena.lu?lang=2&doc=3998|accessdate = 2007-06-12] The inagural sitting of the Authority was held in Luxembourg's city hall on 10 August 1952. Jean Monnet, the architect of the ECSC, was elected as its first President. [{cite web|title=Address given by Jean Monnet (Luxembourg City Hall, 10 August 1952)|publisher=European NAvigator|url=http://www.ena.lu?lang=2&doc=3611|accessdate=2008-06-02]

The supranational power exercised by the Authority did prompt suspicion by some, for example the government of France who ensured that in the European Economic Community (EEC) and European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) more power would be in the hands of the Council.cite web|title = Merging of the executives|publisher=European NAvigator|url=http://www.ena.lu?lang=2&doc=473|accessdate=2007-07-09] cite web|publisher = European NAvigator|title = Council of the European Union|url=http://www.ena.lu?lang=2&doc=5604|accessdate = 2007-06-24] cite web|title = European Commission|publisher=European NAvigator|url=http://www.ena.lu?lang=2&doc=3202|accessdate=2007-06-18]

In 1967 the Merger Treaty came into force, which combined the independent institutions of the ECSC and Euratom with those of the EEC. From then on, the High Authority ceased to exist and its duties were taken on by the Commission of the European Communities. The administration of Rinaldo Del Bo ended before the merger so an interim President was appointed to oversee the merger, Albert Coppé.cite web|title=Members of the High Authority of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC)|publisher=European NAvigator|url=http://www.ena.lu?lang=2&doc=3526|accessdate=2007-12-16] The Authority met for the last time on the 28 June 1967. [{cite web|title=Final meeting of the ECSC Luxembourg, 28 June 1967|publisher=European NAvigator|url=http://www.ena.lu?lang=2&doc=4470|accessdate=2008-06-02]


The Authority's principle 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.cite web|title=The Treaties establishing the European Communities|publisher=European NAvigator|url=http://www.ena.lu?lang=2&doc=16393|accessdate=2007-12-16]


The body consisted of nine members, nearly all appointed from the member states. The larger states, France, Germany and Italy, appointed two members each with the three smaller states, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands appointing one member each. The ninth member was the President, who was appointed by the eight other members.

Despite being appointed by national governments, the members were not supposed to represent their national interest, but rather took a 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.


The President was elected by the other appointed members, rather than directly by member states (as is the case of the current Commission President). The first president was Jean Monnet.


The headquarters of the High Authority were in Luxembourg city, the seat of most ECSC institutions. This was only intended as the provisional seat as no formal agreement was reached at the ECSC's conference in 1952.cite web|first=|title=The seats of the institutions of the European Union|date=|url=http://www.ena.lu?lang=2&doc=20822|publisher=European NAvigator|accessdate=2007-07-18]

Luxembourg had proposed it be the provisional seat (except for the Common Assembly which was to be in Strasbourg) until an agreement was reached.cite web|first=|title=Seat of the European Commission|date=|url=http://www.ena.lu?lang=2&doc=3102|publisher=European NAvigator|accessdate=2007-09-27] Future executives, the Commissions of the EEC and Euratom, would eventually be based in Brussels.

ee also

* European Commission
* European Coal and Steel Community
* Institutions of the European Union
* Location of European Union institutions
* History of the European Communities (1945-1957)
* History of the European Communities (1958-1972)
* Law of the European Union


External links

* [http://www.ena.lu?lang=2&doc=3526 Members of the High Authority of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC)] , European NAvigator
* [http://www.ena.lu?lang=2&doc=3417 Organisation chart of the ECSC High Authority (June 1967)] , European NAvigator
* [http://www.ena.lu?lang=2&doc=3390 Administrative organisation of the High Authority] , European NAvigator

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