Much of the early impetus behind the first of the European Communities, the ECSC, was provided by two Frenchmen. Jean Monnet, who had pioneered France’s successful post-war experiment with indicative economic planning, provided much of the technical and administrative initiative and behind-thescenes drive. Robert Schuman, the French Foreign Minister from 1948 to early 1953, acted as the political advocate. Both were ardent supporters of European unity, both believed that the OEEC and the Council of Europe — where anyone could be exempted from a decision — could not provide the necessary impetus, and both came to the conclusion that:
A start would have to be made by doing something both more practical and more ambitious. National sovereignty would have to be tackled more boldly and on a narrower front (Monnet, 1978: 274).