Since the very beginning, with the creation of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) in 1951, the European institutions were more planning agencies than anything else. Indeed, the coal and steel industries at the time were mostly nationalized and the goal of the ECSC was to coordinate governments’ activities in these two sectors, not to liberalize activity.

The fact that the ECSC was not about free trade but about government planning was known by everybody at the time. It was Robert Schuman, the French minister of foreign affairs, who proposed in his declaration of 9 May 1950, that the Franco-German coal and steel production be placed under a common High Authority within the framework of an organization in which other European countries could participate.