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Former headquarters of the High Authority in Luxembourg
The High Authority was the executive branch of the former European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC). It was created in 1951 and disbanded in 1967 when it was merged into the European Commissionmarker.


The High Authority was at the core of the idea of the ECSC. It was to be an independent, supranational, executive checked by a Court of Justice. There were concerns about this power, leading to a Council (of governments) and Parliament (of MPs) to be created to act as a counterweight. The inaugural sitting of the Authority was held in Luxembourg's city hall on 10 August 1952. Jean Monnetmarker, the architect of the ECSC, was elected as its first President.

The supranational power exercised by the Authority did prompt suspicion by some, for example the government of France who ensured that in the European Economic Community (EEC) and European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) more power would be in the hands of the Council.

In 1967 the Merger Treaty came into force, which combined the independent institutions of the ECSC and Euratom with those of the EEC. From then on, the High Authority ceased to exist and its duties were taken on by the Commission of the European Communitiesmarker. The administration of Rinaldo Del Bo ended before the merger so an interim President was appointed to oversee the merger, Albert Coppé. The Authority met for the last time on the 28 June 1967.


The Authority's principle innovation was its supranational character. It had a broad area of competence to ensure the objectives of the treaty were met and that the common market functioned smoothly. The High Authority could issue three types of legal instruments: Decisions, which were entirely binding laws; Recommendations, which had binding aims but the methods were left to member states; and Opinions, which had no legal force.


The body consisted of nine members, nearly all appointed from the member states. The larger states, Francemarker, Germanymarker and Italymarker, appointed two members each with the three smaller states, Belgiummarker, Luxembourgmarker and the Netherlandsmarker appointing one member each. The ninth member was the President, who was appointed by the eight other members.

Despite being appointed by national governments, the members were not supposed to represent their national interest, but rather took an oath to defend the general interests of the Community as a whole. Their independence was aided by members being barred from having any occupation outside the Authority or having any business interests.


The President was elected by the other appointed members, rather than directly by member states (as is the case of the current Commission President). The first president was Jean Monnetmarker.

President State Took office Left office Authority
Jean Monnetmarker Francemarker 10 August 1952 3 June 1955 Monnet Authority
René Mayer Francemarker 3 June 1955 13 January 1958 Mayer Authority
Paul Finet Belgiummarker 13 January 1958 15 September 1959 Finet Authority
Piero Malvestiti Italymarker 15 September 1959 22 October 1963 Malvestiti Authority
Rinaldo Del Bo Italymarker 22 October 1963 6 July 1967 Del Bo Authority
Albert Coppé Belgiummarker interim Coppé Authority


The headquarters of the High Authority were in Luxembourg citymarker, the seat of most ECSC institutions. This was only intended as the provisional seat as no formal agreement was reached at the ECSC's conference in 1952.

Luxembourg had proposed it be the provisional seat (except for the Common Assembly which was to be in Strasbourg) until an agreement was reached. Future executives, the Commissions of the EEC and Euratom, would eventually be based in Brusselsmarker.

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