you're reading...
EU Financing / Budgetary Affairs, PUBLICATIONS

History of budgetary powers in the EU. Part I: European Coal and Steel Community 1952-2002

Written by Alfredo De Feo

This study, the first part of a wider analysis on the European Parliament’s role in EU budgetary powers, traces the very first phase of interinstitutional relations in the framework of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC). The study is part of a joint research project between the European University Institute, Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies, and the European Parliament on the evolution of the interinstitutional relations in the EU budgetary domain.

After a brief historical introduction, the study explains the structure, objectives and means of action of the ECSC. The ECSC Treaty had a number of original features. Among these was the establishment of a High Authority, an independent supranational executive with extensive powers including the capacity to raise funds via a tax (levy) on coal and steel production, to borrow on the capital markets, and to make loans to enterprises. The Treaty also defined the respective roles of the ECSC’s Council of Ministers, Common Assembly and Court of Justice.

Europe sign history

Fondation Jean Monnet pour l’Europe, Lausanne

The ECSC Treaty did not foresee a budgetary procedure: all competences were concentrated in the High Authority, which presented an annual report on its activities to the Assembly.

The High Authority was the motor for managing the production of coal and steel, which belonged to the ECSC and not to its member states, and for supporting the modernisation of the industry and of the social conditions of the workers.

The present research will highlight a narrative differing in part from the theory of the rules of the ECSC Treaty, and we will discover numerous features which, in spite of the 60-year gap, point up certain similarities with approaches and problems existing today.

The autonomy of the High Authority was mitigated by constant consultation/prior agreement with the Council of Ministers. The Assembly gained influence over the years, in some case obliging the High Authority to modify decisions already taken, even without a specific role being defined in the Treaty. The High Authority introduced multiannual budgetary planning, which was more efficient than annual budgets, and exceptionally allowed a rebate on the levy for two countries. During the 1980s, the member states increased their influence over the ECSC budget (with a direct contribution based on a mechanism similar to GNI). The High Authority, in view of the cost of production in some countries, decided to introduce a rebate on the levy. It was critical of the way the Assembly’s plenary was organised.

The study concludes with an overview of the evolution of interinstitutional relations, with a focus on the budgetary domain and on the capacity of the institutions to adapt and evolve.

Read the whole study “History of budgetary powers in the EU” here.

About Historical Archives

The Historical Archives maintain and make available to the public the documents related to the legislative and political activity of the European Parliament from 1952 until the 6th parliamentary term (2004-2009).


No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Download the EPRS App

EPRS App on Google Play
EPRS App on App Store
What Europe Does For You
EU Legislation in Progress
Topical Digests
EPRS Podcasts

Follow Blog via Email

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 3,544 other subscribers

Disclaimer and Copyright statement

The content of all documents (and articles) contained in this blog is the sole responsibility of the author and any opinions expressed therein do not necessarily represent the official position of the European Parliament. It is addressed to the Members and staff of the EP for their parliamentary work. Reproduction and translation for non-commercial purposes are authorised, provided the source is acknowledged and the European Parliament is given prior notice and sent a copy.

For a comprehensive description of our cookie and data protection policies, please visit Terms and Conditions page.

Copyright © European Union, 2014-2019. All rights reserved.

%d bloggers like this: