Ad Hoc Assembly (1952-1954)


The Ad Hoc Assembly was established by a Council Decision on 10 September 1952 with the aim of drafting a European Constitution Charter before 10 March 1953, i.e. a draft Treaty establishing a European Political Community. It met nine times between September 1952 and March 1953, but due to the opposition of the French Parliament to the ratification of the Treaty establishing the European Defence Community, the project of a European Political Community was abandoned.

Paul-Henri Spaak shakes hands with Jean MonnetPaul-Henri Spaak shakes hands with Jean Monnet, Chairman of the ECSC High Authority, in the fringes of a meeting of the Ad Hoc Assembly for a Political European Community (CPE), in Strasbourg © European Communities 1953

The Ad Hoc Assembly was made up of the 78 Members of the Common Assembly, 8 co-opted members (3 Italians, 3 French and 2 Germans), and 13 members of the Council of Europe from countries not belonging to the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC). It met nine times between September 1952 and March 1953. The draft treaty combined the powers and competence of the ECSC and the European Defence Community (EDC) in a single framework, with common supranational institutions. Anticipating that the two chamber parliament would be elected by universal suffrage, the draft treaty also gave it real legislative power. However in August 1954, the French Parliament refused to ratify the treaty establishing the EDC, and so the European Political Community (EPC), which would have been its institutional corollary, never progressed beyond the planning stage.

What’s in the Archives

The Fond’s documents set out the first attempt by the six founding countries of the ECSC to shape a political community that would go beyond beyond mere economic agreements. They reflect the work of the Constitutional Committee, of the four sub-committees and the working groups, each dealing with a specific area in drafting the treaty.

The organisation of the fond highlighted the steps taken by the delegates in order to compose the draft Treaty, from work in subcommittees, to the Constitutional Committee and discussion in plenary. Alongside official documents, resolutions and directive files approved by the subcommittees, the Commission and the Assembly, a series of meeting files are available for each level i.e. subcommittees, constitutional committees and plenary sessions. From these, it is possible to reconstruct the progress of each meeting of each body.