The Treaty establishing the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) was signed in Paris by France, the Federal Republic of Germany, Italy, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands (the Six) on 18 April 1951.

The success of the ECSC went far beyond mere economic results: the true achievement was securing reconciliation between France and Germany just five years after the end of the Second World War.

Indeed, the establishment in 1951 of the European Coal and Steel Community and its institutions (the High Authority, the Common Assembly, the Special Council of Ministers and the Court of Justice) served as a guarantor of peace. The community-based management of heavy industry, at that time a key sector of the economy and the basis of the arms industry, would render further conflict between the countries of Western Europe impossible and would create a third force in the context of the Cold War that was beginning to take shape.

The ECSC’s importance also lies in its influence on the form of the current Community institutions.