European Coal and Steel Community ECSC

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC)


an international state-monopoly organization uniting the coal-mining, iron-ore, and metallurgical industries of France, the Federal Republic of Germany, Italy, Belgium, the Nether-lands, and Luxembourg (since 1958 these countries have constituted the European Economic Community). The community was organized in 1951 for a period of 50 years. Its goal was proclaimed to be the promotion of the economic development of member countries through the formation of a common market for coal and metallurgical products.

The creation of the ECSC was a result of structural shifts occurring in the capitalist economy after World War II, as well as of the growth of interimperialistic contradictions. These factors had a direct influence on the nature of the community. Along with economic considerations, an important part in the formation of the ECSC was played by the political plans of imperialist states and their attempts to organize military-political blocs in Western Europe.

The official goals of the ECSC include providing for efficient distribution of production and high labor productivity in the coal and mining industries of Western Europe, assisting in the continual expansion and modernization of industry, and supporting conditions of “free” and “normal” competition in the Common Market. The formation of the ECSC is in the interests of metallurgical monopolies, which view it as a means of strengthening the dominant role of monopoly capital in the metallurgical industries of member countries.

Creation of a common market for coal and steel was implemented gradually during preparatory and “transitional” periods (1952-57). In February 1953, regulations on a common market for coal, iron ore, and scrap iron went into effect. All duties and quantitative limitations on the trading of this production were abolished. In May 1953 a common market was opened for pig iron and steel and, in August 1954, for special steels. In May 1956 joint transportation tariffs went into effect for shipments of coal and iron ore and, in May 1957, for shipments of scrap iron and the production of metallurgical industries. The ECSC controls about two-thirds of the smelting of steel and one-half of the extraction of coal and iron ore in Western Europe.

The administrative bodies of the ECSC are the high authority and, under it, the consultative committee, the special council of ministers, the assembly, and the court. The press organ is the Journal Officiel de la Communaute europeene du charbon et de I’acier, published since December 1952. The headquarters of the ECSC is in Luxembourg. There are in-formation bureaus in Washington, London, Paris, Rome, and Bonn. In the summer of 1967 the executive bodies of the ECSC and Euratom were merged.


Mezhdunarodnye ekonomicheskie organizatsii: Spravochnik, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1962.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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