chapter  3
16 Pages

The origins of European competition regulation II: the supranational level

The French government initially attempted to access the coal resources of the German Saar area and prevent economic recovery of the Ruhr, Germany’s industrial heart, hosting the greatest concentration of economic power on the continent (Berghahn 1986: 112). The Ruhr area, however, formed part of the British occupation zone and was not subject to French infl uence. Once the governments of the UK and particularly the US agreed that the Ruhr’s recovery was the key to the revitalisation of the European economies and ‘gradually loosened the Ruhr’s economic shackles’, the French government could only watch from the sidelines (Dinan 1999: 20). With the Schuman Declaration, the French government sought to encapsulate the more dominant German economy in a framework of political control. The formation of a supranational organisation that ensured the abolition of national restrictions on imports and exports for coal and steel products seemed an attractive solution to ensure market access to German coal and steel sectors and importantly, to also secure the necessary support from other European governments whose economies also depended on German coal resources.