chapter  1
20 Pages

Rescuing the European welfare state

The Social Affairs Committee of the early European Communities, 1953–1962
WithBrian Shaev

This chapter explores a timeframe from the opening of the coal and steel market in 1953 to the move from the first to second transitional stage of the European Economic Community (EEC) customs union in 1962. It considers how committee members conceptualized the impact that a coal and steel common market would have on the working conditions, (un)employment, and social rights of coal and steel workers in 1953–1955. The chapter discusses the contested nature of social policy in the early European communities by rescuing ideas of a European-level welfare state from contemporary oblivion. It examines their attempts to influence and revise the social clauses of European treaties in communication with the High Authority and the intergovernmental team negotiating the Treaties of Rome in 1955–1957. The chapter analyses their efforts to build supranational welfare policies in and beyond heavy industry during the first years of the EEC in 1958–1962.