European Coal and Steel Community

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The European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) was founded in 1951, by France, West Germany, Italy, Belgium, Luxemburg and the Netherlands to pool the steel and coal resources of its member-states, thus preventing another European war. It was in fulfillment of a plan developed by a French civil servant Jean Monnet, publicised by the French foreign minister Robert Schumann.

The ECSC served as the foundation for the later development of the European Community, and then the European Union.

The ECSC will cease to exist in 2002, its founding treaty, unlike that for the European Community, provided for a limited duration of only 50 years. Its responsibilities and assets were assumed by the EC. (This assumption was provided for by a protocol to the Treaty of Nice. That the ECSC will most likely cease to exist before the provisions in the Nice treaty enter into force would seem to cause legal problems, but in practice no one seems concerned.)