One of the most significant events in post-war Europe was the formation of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC). By 1950 there were agreements on tariffs and trade (GATT), on economic co-operation (OEEC) and on defence (NATO). The United States of America however urged increased unity and strongly advised the European states to remove the barriers that restricted trade between them. France and Germany realised the need to end their historic rivalry and recognised that ""nationality"", in Lord Acton's words, was ""the most subversive doctrine in history"".
On 9 May 1950 Robert Schuman made his momentous declaration and put forward his plan for a common High Authority.
"The French Government proposes to place Franco-German production of coal and steel under a common 'High Authority' ... By pooling basic production and by setting up a new High Authority whose decisions will be binding on France, Germany and other member countries, this proposal will build the first concrete foundation of the European Federation which is indispensable to the preservation of peace."
Two years later the European Coal and Steel Community was established and it became the cornerstone of European development and co-operation. The records of the ECSC, now made freely available under the 30-year rule, are crucial for a full understanding of post-war European integration.
"These records will enable researchers to approach the vital subject of European integration with all the thoroughness it deserves."
Professor Dr Walter Lipgens, University of Saarbrücken
The microfiche document set for 1952-1956 was published in 1991. The document set for 1957-1961 is now made universally available for the first time. It will be followed by issues of sets of ECSC documents for later periods and by the historical records of the EEC and EURATOM.
Economists, lawyers, historians and political scientists use the ECSC records for systematic research into the complex history of post-war European development.
The records illuminate:
Origin and development of the ECSC
ECSC links with other European movements and organisations
External relations, particularly with reference to the United Kingdom and the United States of America
The common economic, commercial, energy and security policies
Creation and expansion of the Common Market for coal and steel
Origins and evolution of Social Policy in the ECSC
Integration of European municipalities
The role of figures such as Jean Monnet, Konrad Adenauer, Robert Schuman, Alcide de Gasperi, Jean Rey, Anthony Eden, Walter Hallstein
Greater European cohesion has been achieved through economic integration rather than direct political union. Proposals for a European Political Community and a European Defence Community foundered but the ECSC flourished. These records document its success and the growth of European co-operation.
The division of records into thematic groups in accordance with the principle of provenance (CEAB) gives researchers easy access to relevant information. Detailed printed finding aids, established by the Historical Archives of the European Commission, provide summaries of the contents of the documents in every thematic group together with a keyword index.
The preparation and adaptation of the Treaties; the interpretation and revision of various articles; the legal personality of the institutions and the Staff Regulations; relations with the Court of Justice; agreements and concentrations.
The setting-up of the ECSC; minutes of meetings of the High Authority; the organisation of the High Authority; the other institutions and organs (Assembly, Special Council of Ministers, Court of Justice and ECSC Consultative Committee); cooperation with the other European Communities (EEC and Euratom); international affairs; economic affairs.
ECSC Treaty (1951); Messina Conference (1955); Universal Exhibition (Brussels) 1958; minutes of meetings of commissions of the High Authority (in particular the Administrative Commission).
Delegations of third countries to the High Authority; High Authority delegation in London; the Council of Association between the High Authority and the government of the United Kingdom; commercial agreements with third countries; relations with international organisations (Council of Europe, OEEC/OECD, GATT, etc.); the proceedings of the External Relations Working Party.
The harmonisation of transport tariffs and conditions; the establishment of international rates for rail transport; the implementation of Recommendation No. 1/61 of the ECSC High Authority of 1 March 1961 on the publication of rates and conditions of carriage in the Member States; statistics on road, inland waterway and rail transport; the minutes of the Committee on Transport of the Assembly (European Parliamentary Assembly) of the ECSC from 1953.
Figures and statistics on production and consumption of coal, customs levies and information on prices of coal in Member States and third countries.
Figures and statistics on production and consumption of steel products, customs levies and information on prices of steel in Member States and third countries.
Anti-trust Policy; development of a Common Energy Policy; economics programmes; energy production and consumption forecasts (coal, nuclear, electricity); mining techniques.
Problems and research in industrial medicine; finance for building workers' housing; workers' redeployment and social security.
The framing of regulations; employees' rights and staff regulations; costs and wages; proceedings of the Administrative Commission.
Reports and minutes of meetings of the working parties of the High Authority.
Files on the meetings of the Commission of the four Presidents, principally notices convening meetings, agendas, sessional papers and minutes.
Minutes and papers of the Consultative Committee; the adoption of the internal rules of the Consultative Committee; consultations of the High Authority on the publication of price scales and conditions of sale and on the definition of discriminatory practices.
The microfiche are accompanied by printed indexes.
1. An index of the files and documents in the thematic groups (CEAB 1 to 15). Each entry includes the serial deposit number, a summary description, the microfiche number, and the dates covered. Also provided is the original Universal Decimal Classification (UDC) of each file and a list of UDC classifications.
2. A keyword index comprising a complete alphabetical permutation of the keywords in each entry (up to five) referenced to the record group and microfiche numbers.
The European Commission's Historical Archives and Edition Service are publishing a structured inventory of Historical Records of the ECSC High Authority for the entire period 1952-1967. As well as covering all the 'horizontal', specialised and administrative services of the ECSC High Authority, it will contain a description of the Administrative History of the Services of the ECSC High Authority; Organigrammes; Chronological Summaries; Lists of the Presidents, Vice-Presidents and Members (with photographs) of the ECSC High Authority; Lists of the Presidents of other ECSC Institutions; a Concordance of 'analysis cards' (FAN) and microfiche; and indexes of personal names, places and subjects.