Jean Monnet

Monnet, Jean (zhäNˈ mônāˈ) [key], 1888–1979, French economist and public official, proponent of European unity. In World War I, Monnet served on the Inter-Allied Maritime Commission, an international committee designed to secure war materials, foodstuffs, and shipping facilities for the Allies. He was later (1919–23) deputy general of the League of Nations. During World War II, as a member of the Washington-based British Supply Council (1940–43), he was instrumental in coordinating the Allied war effort. In 1945, Monnet was appointed to draft a plan for French economic revival; the Monnet Plan (1947) called for the modernization of French industry and agriculture with government help and supervision, and provided for a 48-hr work week to achieve economic goals. The resultant redevelopment encouraged French participation in the Marshall Plan and also in the Schuman Plan, drafted by Monnet himself. The Schuman Plan established the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), of which Monnet was first president (1952–55); he conceived the ECSC as the initial step toward European economic and political integration (see European Union). In 1955, Monnet organized the Action Committee for a United States of Europe, and became its first chairman a year later. The group supported establishment of the Common Market (the European Economic Community), which developed from many of Monnet's ideas.

See M. and S. Bromberger, Jean Monnet and the United States of Europe (tr. 1969); F. Duchêne, Jean Monnet: The First Statesman of Interdependence (1994).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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