The European Coal and Steel Community of France, Germany, Italy and the Low Countries in full operation since May 1953, is an unprecedented type of a supranational organization, unique in its institutions as well as in its means for creating a single competitive market for coal, iron and steel within the European territories of those participating states.

Aside from the long term political objective of Franco-German rapprochement as the foundation stone for a future Western European political consolidation or even federation, the Schuman Plan encompasses economic as well as social aims. By establishing such a supranational market the Community seeks to rationalize and modernize the iron and steel production and lower their production cost, to expand the production in response to the so stimulated demand, and to stabilize and improve the working conditions in the heavy industry.

As a result of the new conception of the Community, the fundamental problems, whether political, economic or social, appear in a new relation and perspective, meriting their thorough examination from various aspects. The Community's institutional structure and economic objectives have been discussed at some length elsewhere. The present exposition endeavors to limit its scope to assessment of the Community from the viewpoint of labor.