Newcastle University
About Jean Monnet Center

Jean Monnet

Jean Monnet (1888-1979) was a French economic advisor and politician who had some notable roles on the national, European, and international stages. Monnet served as Deputy Secretary-General of the League of Nations from 1920 until 1923. During the two World Wars he held high civil service roles overseeing the co-ordination of industrial production in France and United Kingdom. After World War Two, Monnet led the Commissariat du Plan which was responsible for planning the post war economic recovery of France. As a top French advisor, he suggested to the French Foreign Minister, Robert Schuman, the idea of pooling French and German coal and steel programmes; this idea helped trigger the "Schuman declaration" of 9 May 1950. The Schuman Declaration led to the creation of the European Coal and Steel Community. The Treaty creating this Community is seen as the official start of the European Union integration project. Between 1952 to1955, Monnet acted as the first president of the High Authority, which was the Community executive body and precursor to the Commission. [This biographical overview is based on the Europa website, and Timothy Bainbridge and Anthony Teasdale's The Penguin Companion to European Union (Penguin: 1996).