The European Economic Community (EEC) was a regional organisation which aimed to bring about economic integration among its member states. It was created by the Treaty of Rome of 1957. Upon the formation of the European Union (EU) in 1993, the EEC was incorporated and renamed as the European Community (EC). In 2009 the EC's institutions were absorbed into the EU's wider framework and the community ceased to exist.
The Community's initial aim was to bring about economic integration, including a common market and customs union, among its six founding members: Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and West Germany. It gained a common set of institutions along with the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) and the European Atomic Energy Community (EURATOM) as one of the European Communities under the 1965 Merger Treaty (Treaty of Brussels). In 1993, a complete single market was achieved, known as the internal market, which allowed for the free movement of goods, capital, services, and people within the EEC. In 1994, the internal market was formalised by the EEA agreement. This agreement also extended the internal market to include most of the member states of the European Free Trade Association, forming the European Economic Area covering 15 countries.
Upon the entry into force of the Maastricht Treaty in 1993, the EEC was renamed the European Community to reflect that it covered a wider range than economic policy. This was also when the three European Communities, including the EC, were collectively made to constitute the first of the three pillars of the European Union, which the treaty also founded. The EC existed in this form until it was abolished by the 2009 Treaty of Lisbon, which incorporated the EC's institutions into the EU's wider framework and provided that the EU would "replace and succeed the European Community".
The EEC was also known as the Common Market in the English-speaking countries and sometimes referred to as the European Community even before it was officially renamed as such in 1993.
European Economic Community
Anthem: "Ode to Joy" (orchestral)
EEC in 1993
|Historical era||Cold War|
|25 March 1957|
|1 January 1958|
|1 July 1967|
|1 January 1993|
|1 November 1993|
|1 December 2009|
|Today part of||European Union|
¹ The information in this infobox covers the EEC's time as an independent organisation. It does not give details of post-1993 operation within the EU as that is explained in greater length in the European Union and European Communities articles.
² De facto only, these cities hosted the main institutions but were not titled as capitals.
In 1951, the Treaty of Paris was signed, creating the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC). This was an international community based on supranationalism and international law, designed to help the economy of Europe and prevent future war by integrating its members.
In the aim of creating a federal Europe two further communities were proposed: a European Defence Community and a European Political Community. While the treaty for the latter was being drawn up by the Common Assembly, the ECSC parliamentary chamber, the proposed defense community was rejected by the French Parliament. ECSC President Jean Monnet, a leading figure behind the communities, resigned from the High Authority in protest and began work on alternative communities, based on economic integration rather than political integration. After the Messina Conference in 1955, Paul Henri Spaak was given the task to prepare a report on the idea of a customs union. The so-called Spaak Report of the Spaak Committee formed the cornerstone of the intergovernmental negotiations at Val Duchesse conference centre in 1956. Together with the Ohlin Report the Spaak Report would provide the basis for the Treaty of Rome.
In 1956, Paul Henri Spaak led the Intergovernmental Conference on the Common Market and Euratom at the Val Duchesse conference centre, which prepared for the Treaty of Rome in 1957. The conference led to the signature, on 25 March 1957, of the Treaty of Rome establishing a European Economic Community.
The resulting communities were the European Economic Community (EEC) and the European Atomic Energy Community (EURATOM or sometimes EAEC). These were markedly less supranational than the previous communities, due to protests from some countries that their sovereignty was being infringed (however there would still be concerns with the behaviour of the Hallstein Commission). The first formal meeting of the Hallstein Commission was held on 16 January 1958 at the Chateau de Val-Duchesse. The EEC (direct ancestor of the modern Community) was to create a customs union while Euratom would promote co-operation in the nuclear power sphere. The EEC rapidly became the most important of these and expanded its activities. One of the first important accomplishments of the EEC was the establishment (1962) of common price levels for agricultural products. In 1968, internal tariffs (tariffs on trade between member nations) were removed on certain products.
Another crisis was triggered in regard to proposals for the financing of the Common Agricultural Policy, which came into force in 1962. The transitional period whereby decisions were made by unanimity had come to an end, and majority-voting in the Council had taken effect. Then-French President Charles de Gaulle's opposition to supranationalism and fear of the other members challenging the CAP led to an "empty chair policy" whereby French representatives were withdrawn from the European institutions until the French veto was reinstated. Eventually, a compromise was reached with the Luxembourg compromise on 29 January 1966 whereby a gentlemen's agreement permitted members to use a veto on areas of national interest.
On 1 July 1967 when the Merger Treaty came into operation, combining the institutions of the ECSC and Euratom into that of the EEC, they already shared a Parliamentary Assembly and Courts. Collectively they were known as the European Communities. The Communities still had independent personalities although were increasingly integrated. Future treaties granted the community new powers beyond simple economic matters which had achieved a high level of integration. As it got closer to the goal of political integration and a peaceful and united Europe, what Mikhail Gorbachev described as a Common European Home.
The 1960s saw the first attempts at enlargement. In 1961, Denmark, Ireland, Norway and the United Kingdom applied to join the three Communities. However, President Charles de Gaulle saw British membership as a Trojan horse for U.S. influence and vetoed membership, and the applications of all four countries were suspended. Greece became the first country to join the EC in 1961 as an associate member, however its membership was suspended in 1967 after the Colonels coup d'état.
The four countries resubmitted their applications on 11 May 1967 and with Georges Pompidou succeeding Charles de Gaulle as French president in 1969, the veto was lifted. Negotiations began in 1970 under the pro-European government of Edward Heath, who had to deal with disagreements relating to the Common Agricultural Policy and the UK's relationship with the Commonwealth of Nations. Nevertheless, two years later the accession treaties were signed so that Denmark, Ireland and the UK joined the Community effective 1 January 1973. The Norwegian people had finally rejected membership in a referendum on 25 September 1972.
The Treaties of Rome had stated that the European Parliament must be directly elected, however this required the Council to agree on a common voting system first. The Council procrastinated on the issue and the Parliament remained appointed, French President Charles de Gaulle was particularly active in blocking the development of the Parliament, with it only being granted Budgetary powers following his resignation.
Parliament pressured for agreement and on 20 September 1976 the Council agreed part of the necessary instruments for election, deferring details on electoral systems which remain varied to this day. During the tenure of President Jenkins, in June 1979, the elections were held in all the then-members (see European Parliament election, 1979). The new Parliament, galvanised by direct election and new powers, started working full-time and became more active than the previous assemblies.
Shortly after its election, the Parliament proposed that the Community adopt the flag of Europe design used by the Council of Europe. The European Council in 1984 appointed an ad hoc committee for this purpose. The European Council in 1985 largely followed the Committee's recommendations, but as the adoption of a flag was strongly reminiscent of a national flag representing statehood, was controversial, the "flag of Europe" design was adopted only with the status of a "logo" or "emblem".
The European Council, or European summit, had developed since the 1960s as an informal meeting of the Council at the level of heads of state. It had originated from then-French President Charles de Gaulle's resentment at the domination of supranational institutions (e.g. the Commission) over the integration process. It was mentioned in the treaties for the first time in the Single European Act (see below).
Greece re-applied to join the community on 12 June 1975, following the restoration of democracy, and joined on 1 January 1981. Following on from Greece, and after their own democratic restoration, Spain and Portugal applied to the communities in 1977 and joined together on 1 January 1986. In 1987 Turkey formally applied to join the Community and began the longest application process for any country.
With the prospect of further enlargement, and a desire to increase areas of co-operation, the Single European Act was signed by the foreign ministers on the 17 and 28 February 1986 in Luxembourg and the Hague respectively. In a single document it dealt with reform of institutions, extension of powers, foreign policy cooperation and the single market. It came into force on 1 July 1987. The act was followed by work on what would be the Maastricht Treaty, which was agreed on 10 December 1991, signed the following year and coming into force on 1 November 1993 establishing the European Union, and paving the way for the European Monetary Union.
The EU absorbed the European Communities as one of its three pillars. The EEC's areas of activities were enlarged and were renamed the European Community, continuing to follow the supranational structure of the EEC. The EEC institutions became those of the EU, however the Court, Parliament and Commission had only limited input in the new pillars, as they worked on a more intergovernmental system than the European Communities. This was reflected in the names of the institutions, the Council was formally the "Council of the European Union" while the Commission was formally the "Commission of the European Communities".
However, after the Treaty of Maastricht, Parliament gained a much bigger role. Maastricht brought in the codecision procedure, which gave it equal legislative power with the Council on Community matters. Hence, with the greater powers of the supranational institutions and the operation of Qualified Majority Voting in the Council, the Community pillar could be described as a far more federal method of decision making.
The Treaty of Amsterdam transferred responsibility for free movement of persons (e.g., visas, illegal immigration, asylum) from the Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) pillar to the European Community (JHA was renamed Police and Judicial Co-operation in Criminal Matters (PJCC) as a result). Both Amsterdam and the Treaty of Nice also extended codecision procedure to nearly all policy areas, giving Parliament equal power to the Council in the Community.
In 2002, the Treaty of Paris which established the ECSC expired, having reached its 50-year limit (as the first treaty, it was the only one with a limit). No attempt was made to renew its mandate; instead, the Treaty of Nice transferred certain of its elements to the Treaty of Rome and hence its work continued as part of the EC area of the European Community's remit.
After the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon in 2009 the pillar structure ceased to exist. The European Community, together with its legal personality, was absorbed into the newly consolidated European Union which merged in the other two pillars (however Euratom remained distinct). This was originally proposed under the European Constitution but that treaty failed ratification in 2005.
The main aim of the EEC, as stated in its preamble, was to "preserve peace and liberty and to lay the foundations of an ever closer union among the peoples of Europe". Calling for balanced economic growth, this was to be accomplished through:
For the customs union, the treaty provided for a 10% reduction in custom duties and up to 20% of global import quotas. Progress on the customs union proceeded much faster than the twelve years planned. However, France faced some setbacks due to their war with Algeria.
The six states that founded the EEC and the other two Communities were known as the "inner six" (the "outer seven" were those countries who formed the European Free Trade Association). The six were France, West Germany, Italy and the three Benelux countries: Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. The first enlargement was in 1973, with the accession of Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom. Greece, Spain and Portugal joined in the 1980s. The former East Germany became part of the EEC upon German reunification in 1990. Following the creation of the EU in 1993, it has enlarged to include an additional sixteen countries by 2013.
|Belgium||25 March 1957||Dutch, French and German||Belgian franc||10,016,000|
|France||25 March 1957||French||French franc||56,718,000|
|West Germany/Germany[note 1]||25 March 1957||German||German mark||63,254,000|
|Italy||25 March 1957||Italian||Italian lira||56,762,700|
|Luxembourg||25 March 1957||French, German and Luxembourgish||Luxembourgish franc||384,400|
|Netherlands||25 March 1957||Dutch and Frisian||Dutch guilder||14,892,300|
|Denmark||1 January 1973||Danish||Danish krone||5,146,500|
|Ireland||1 January 1973||Irish and English||Irish pound||3,521,000|
|United Kingdom||1 January 1973||English||Pound sterling||57,681,000|
|Greece||1 January 1981||Greek||Greek drachma||10,120,000|
|Portugal||1 January 1986||Portuguese||Portuguese escudo||9,862,500|
|Spain||1 January 1986||Spanish[note 2]||Spanish peseta||38,993,800|
Member states are represented in some form in each institution. The Council is also composed of one national minister who represents their national government. Each state also has a right to one European Commissioner each, although in the European Commission they are not supposed to represent their national interest but that of the Community. Prior to 2004, the larger members (France, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom) have had two Commissioners. In the European Parliament, members are allocated a set number seats related to their population, however these (since 1979) have been directly elected and they sit according to political allegiance, not national origin. Most other institutions, including the European Court of Justice, have some form of national division of its members.
There were three political institutions which held the executive and legislative power of the EEC, plus one judicial institution and a fifth body created in 1975. These institutions (except for the auditors) were created in 1957 by the EEC but from 1967 onwards they applied to all three Communities. The Council represents governments, the Parliament represents citizens and the Commission represents the European interest. Essentially, the Council, Parliament or another party place a request for legislation to the Commission. The Commission then drafts this and presents it to the Council for approval and the Parliament for an opinion (in some cases it had a veto, depending upon the legislative procedure in use). The Commission's duty is to ensure it is implemented by dealing with the day-to-day running of the Union and taking others to Court if they fail to comply. After the Maastricht Treaty in 1993, these institutions became those of the European Union, though limited in some areas due to the pillar structure. Despite this, Parliament in particular has gained more power over legislation and security of the Commission. The Court was the highest authority in the law, settling legal disputes in the Community, while the Auditors had no power but to investigate.
The EEC inherited some of the Institutions of the ECSC in that the Common Assembly and Court of Justice of the ECSC had their authority extended to the EEC and Euratom in the same role. However the EEC, and Euratom, had different executive bodies to the ECSC. In place of the ECSC's Council of Ministers was the Council of the European Economic Community, and in place of the High Authority was the Commission of the European Communities.
There was greater difference between these than name: the French government of the day had grown suspicious of the supranational power of the High Authority and sought to curb its powers in favour of the intergovernmental style Council. Hence the Council had a greater executive role in the running of the EEC than was the situation in the ECSC. By virtue of the Merger Treaty in 1967, the executives of the ECSC and Euratom were merged with that of the EEC, creating a single institutional structure governing the three separate Communities. From here on, the term European Communities were used for the institutions (for example, from Commission of the European Economic Community to the Commission of the European Communities).
The Council of the European Communities was a body holding legislative and executive powers and was thus the main decision making body of the Community. Its Presidency rotated between the member states every six months and it is related to the European Council, which was an informal gathering of national leaders (started in 1961) on the same basis as the Council.
The Council was composed of one national minister from each member state. However the Council met in various forms depending upon the topic. For example, if agriculture was being discussed, the Council would be composed of each national minister for agriculture. They represented their governments and were accountable to their national political systems. Votes were taken either by majority (with votes allocated according to population) or unanimity. In these various forms they share some legislative and budgetary power of the Parliament. Since the 1960s the Council also began to meet informally at the level of national leaders; these European summits followed the same presidency system and secretariat as the Council but was not a formal formation of it.
The Commission of the European Communities was the executive arm of the community, drafting Community law, dealing with the day to running of the Community and upholding the treaties. It was designed to be independent, representing the Community interest, but was composed of national representatives (two from each of the larger states, one from the smaller states). One of its members was the President, appointed by the Council, who chaired the body and represented it.
Under the Community, the European Parliament (formerly the European Parliamentary Assembly) had an advisory role to the Council and Commission. There were a number of Community legislative procedures, at first there was only the consultation procedure, which meant Parliament had to be consulted, although it was often ignored. The Single European Act gave Parliament more power, with the assent procedure giving it a right to veto proposals and the cooperation procedure giving it equal power with the Council if the Council was not unanimous.
In 1970 and 1975, the Budgetary treaties gave Parliament power over the Community budget. The Parliament's members, up-until 1980 were national MPs serving part-time in the Parliament. The Treaties of Rome had required elections to be held once the Council had decided on a voting system, but this did not happen and elections were delayed until 1979 (see European Parliament election, 1979). After that, Parliament was elected every five years. In the following 20 years, it gradually won co-decision powers with the Council over the adoption of legislation, the right to approve or reject the appointment of the Commission President and the Commission as a whole, and the right to approve or reject international agreements entered into by the Community.
The Court of Justice of the European Communities was the highest court of on matters of Community law and was composed of one judge per state with a president elected from among them. Its role was to ensure that Community law was applied in the same way across all states and to settle legal disputes between institutions or states. It became a powerful institution as Community law overrides national law.
The fifth institution is the European Court of Auditors, which despite its name had no judicial powers like the Court of Justice. Instead, it ensured that taxpayer funds from the Community budget have been correctly spent. The court provided an audit report for each financial year to the Council and Parliament and gives opinions and proposals on financial legislation and anti-fraud actions. It is the only institution not mentioned in the original treaties, having been set up in 1975.
At the time of its abolition, the European Community pillar covered the following areas;
Maastricht Treaty (TEU)
|Content:||(est. alliance)||(founded WU)||(founded ECSC)||(protocol amending WU to become WEU)||(founded EEC and EURATOM)||(merging the legislative & administrative bodies of the 3 European communities)||(founded TREVI)||(amended: EURATOM, ECSC, EEC)+
|(amended: EURATOM, ECSC, and EEC to transform it into EC)+
|(amended: EURATOM, ECSC, EC to also contain Schengen, and TEU where PJCC replaced JHA)||(amended with focus on institutional changes: EURATOM, ECSC, EC and TEU)||(abolished the 3 pillars and WEU by amending: EURATOM, EC=>TFEU, and TEU)
(founded EU as an overall legal unit with Charter of Fundamental Rights, and reformed governance structures & decision procedures)
|Three pillars of the European Union:|
(with a single Commission & Council)
|European Atomic Energy Community (EURATOM)|
|European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC)||Treaty expired in 2002||European Union (EU)|
|European Economic Community (EEC)||European Community (EC)|
|Terrorism, Radicalism, Extremism and Violence Internationally (TREVI)||Justice and Home Affairs
|Police and Judicial Co-operation in Criminal Matters (PJCC)|
|European Political Cooperation (EPC)||Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP)|
|Franco-British alliance||Western Union (WU)||Western European Union (WEU)|
|Treaty terminated in 2011|
A referendum on joining the European Economic Community was held in Denmark on 2 October 1972. The result was 63.3% in favour with a turnout of 90.1%. The law that Denmark should be member of the EEC was passed on 11 October 1972, and Denmark became a member on 1 January 1973.1972 French European Communities enlargement referendum
A referendum on the enlargement of the EC was held in France on 23 April 1972. Voters were asked whether they approved of Denmark, Ireland, Norway and the United Kingdom joining the EC. (Norway later voted in its own referendum not to join). The proposals were approved by 68.3% of voters, with a turnout of 60.2%.The referendum asked: "Do you agree with the new opportunities opening up in Europe, the draft law submitted to the French people by the President of the Republic, and authorising the ratification of the Treaty concerning the accession of United Kingdom, Denmark, Ireland and Norway to the European Communities?"
This was the first referendum to be held in any country relating to an issue regarding the European Communities.1973 enlargement of the European Communities
The 1973 enlargement of the European Communities was the first enlargement of the European Communities (EC), now the European Union (EU). Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom (UK) acceded to the EC on 1 January 1973. Gibraltar and Greenland also joined the EC as part of the United Kingdom and Denmark respectively, but the Faroe Islands, the British Overseas Territories and the Crown dependencies of the United Kingdom did not join the EC.
Ireland and Denmark both held referenda in 1972 in May and October respectively, and the UK held a referendum in 1975, on membership of the EC, all which approved membership of the EC. Norway planned to accede, but this was rejected in a referendum held in September 1972. Norway later reapplied to join, but voters again rejected the proposal in a 1994 referendum.
Greenland later withdrew from the EC on 1 January 1985 after a referendum in 1982. This was followed by the UK holding a referendum in 2016 on membership which resulted in the United Kingdom voting to leave the now EU.1975 United Kingdom European Communities membership referendum
The United Kingdom European Communities membership referendum, also known variously as the Referendum on the European Community (Common Market), the Common Market referendum and EEC membership referendum, took place under the provisions of the Referendum Act 1975 on 5 June 1975 in the United Kingdom to gauge support for the country's continued membership of the European Communities (EC) — often known at the time as the "European Community” and the "Common Market" — which it had entered two and a half years earlier on 1 January 1973 under the Conservative government of Edward Heath. Labour's manifesto for the October 1974 general election had promised that the people would decide "through the ballot box" whether to remain in the EC.
This was the first national referendum ever to be held throughout the entire United Kingdom and remained the only UK-wide referendum until the 2011 referendum on alternative voting was held thirty-six years later and was the only referendum to be held on the UK's relationship with Europe until the 2016 referendum on continued EU membership.
The electorate expressed significant support for EC membership, with 67% in favour on a national turnout of 64%. The referendum result was not legally binding; however, it was widely accepted that the vote would be the final say on the matter and would be politically binding on all future Westminster Parliaments. In a 1975 pamphlet Prime Minister Harold Wilson said: "I ask you to use your vote. For it is your vote that will now decide. The Government will accept your verdict." The pamphlet also said: "Now the time has come for you to decide. The Government will accept your decision — whichever way it goes."
The February 1974 general election had yielded a Labour minority government, which then won a majority in the October 1974 general election. Labour pledged in its February 1974 manifesto to renegotiate the terms of British accession to the EC, and then to consult the public on whether Britain should stay in the EC on the new terms, if they were acceptable to the government. The Labour Party had historically feared the consequences of EC membership, such as the large differentials between the high price of food under the Common Agricultural Policy and the low prices prevalent in Commonwealth markets, as well as the loss of both economic sovereignty and the freedom of governments to engage in socialist industrial policies, and party leaders stated their opinion that the Conservatives had negotiated unfavourable terms for Britain. The EC heads of government agreed to a deal in Dublin on 11 March 1975; Wilson declared "I believe that our renegotiation objectives have been substantially though not completely achieved", and said that the government would recommend a vote in favour of continued membership. On 9 April the House of Commons voted by 396 to 170 to continue within the Common Market on the new terms. Along with these developments, the government drafted a Referendum Bill, to be moved in case of a successful renegotiation.
The referendum debate and campaign was an unusual time in British politics and was the third national vote to be held in seventeen months. During the campaign, the Labour Cabinet was split and its members campaigned on each side of the question, an unprecedented breach of Cabinet collective responsibility. Most votes in the House of Commons in preparation for the referendum were only carried thanks to opposition support, and the Government faced several defeats on technical issues such as the handling and format of the referendum counts. Finally, although the Government declared in advance that it would comply with the result, the referendum itself was not legally binding upon it.1981 enlargement of the European Communities
The 1981 enlargement of the European Communities was the second enlargement of what is now the European Union, then the European Communities (EC). Greece acceded to the EEC on 1 January 1981. It is considered a part of the Mediterranean enlargement.1986 enlargement of the European Communities
The 1986 enlargement of the European Communities was the third enlargement of what is now the European Union, then the European Communities (EC). Spain and Portugal acceded to the EC on 1 January 1986. It is considered a part of the Mediterranean enlargement.Convention on the association of the Netherlands Antilles with the European Economic Community
The Convention on the association of the Netherlands Antilles with the European Economic Community is an international agreement amending the Treaty establishing the European Economic Community, with the aim of awarding OCT status to the Netherlands Antilles, which was a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands from 1954 until 2010. A full treaty revision was needed because Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, and Luxembourg wanted to add a protocol on the import of refined petroleum products from the Netherlands Antilles.Directive (European Union)
A directive is a legal act of the European Union which requires member states to achieve a particular result without dictating the means of achieving that result. It can be distinguished from regulations, which are self-executing and do not require any implementing measures. Directives normally leave member states with a certain amount of leeway as to the exact rules to be adopted. Directives can be adopted by means of a variety of legislative procedures depending on their subject matter.
The text of a draft directive (if subject to the co-decision process, as contentious matters usually are) is prepared by the Commission after consultation with its own and national experts. The draft is presented to the Parliament and the Council—composed of relevant ministers of member governments, initially for evaluation and comment then subsequently for approval or rejection.European Coal and Steel Community
The European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) was an organization of six European countries created after World War II to regulate their industrial production under a centralised authority. It was formally established in 1951 by the Treaty of Paris, signed by Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and West Germany. The ECSC was the first international organisation to be based on the principles of supranationalism, and started the process of formal integration which ultimately led to the European Union.
The ECSC was first proposed by French foreign minister Robert Schuman on 9 May 1950 as a way to prevent further war between France and Germany. He declared his aim was to "make war not only unthinkable but materially impossible" which was to be achieved by regional integration, of which the ECSC was the first step. The Treaty would create a common market for coal and steel among its member states which served to neutralise competition between European nations over natural resources, particularly in the Ruhr.
The ECSC was overseen by four institutions: a High Authority composed of independent appointees, a Common Assembly composed of national parliamentarians, a Special Council composed of national ministers, and a Court of Justice. These would ultimately form the blueprint for today's European Commission, European Parliament, the Council of the European Union and the European Court of Justice.
The ECSC stood as a model for the communities set up after it by the Treaty of Rome in 1957, the European Economic Community and European Atomic Energy Community, with whom it shared its membership and some institutions. The 1967 Merger (Brussels) Treaty led all of ECSC's institutions to merge into the European Economic Community, but the ECSC retained its own independent legal personality. In 2002, the Treaty of Paris expired and the ECSC ceased to exist in any form, its activities fully absorbed by the European Community under the framework of the Amsterdam and Nice treaties.European Environment Agency
The European Environment Agency (EEA) is the agency of the European Union (EU) which provides independent information on the environment.European Union Customs Union
The European Union Customs Union (EUCU) is a customs union which consists of all the member states of the European Union (EU), Monaco, and some dependencies of the United Kingdom which are not part of the EU. Some detached territories of EU members do not participate in the customs union, usually as a result of their geographic separation. In addition to the EUCU, the EU is in customs unions with Andorra, San Marino, and Turkey, (with the exceptions of certain goods) through separate bilateral agreements.The customs union is a principal component of the European Union, since its establishment in 1958 as European Economic Community. There are no tariffs or non-tariff barriers to trade between members of the customs union and – unlike a free trade area – members of the customs union impose a common external tariff on all goods entering the union.The European Commission negotiates for and on behalf of the Union as a whole in international trade deals (such as that with Canada and many others), rather than each member state negotiating individually. It also represents the Union in the World Trade Organization and any trade disputes mediated through it.History of the European Communities (1958–72)
The history of the European Communities between 1958 and 1972 saw the early development of the European Communities. The European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) had just been joined by the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) and the European Economic Community (EEC), the latter of which soon became the most important. In 1967 the EEC's institutions took over the other two with the EEC's Commission holding its first terms under Hallstein and Rey.In 1958 the Committee of Permanent Representatives (COREPER) was established. On 19 March the Parliamentary Assembly (replacing the Common Assembly) met for the first time for all three communities and elected Robert Schuman as its President. On 13 May members sat according to political, rather than national, allegiance for the first time.History of the European Union
The European Union is a geo-political entity covering a large portion of the European continent. It is founded upon numerous treaties and has undergone expansions that have taken it from 6 member states to 28, a majority of the states in Europe.
Apart from the ideas of federation, confederation, or customs union such as Winston Churchill's 1946 call for a "United States of Europe", the original development of the European Union was based on a supranational foundation that would "make war unthinkable and materially impossible" and reinforce democracy amongst its members as laid out by Robert Schuman and other leaders in the Schuman Declaration (1950) and the Europe Declaration (1951). This principle was at the heart of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) (1951), the Treaty of Paris (1951), and later the Treaty of Rome (1958) which established the European Economic Community (EEC) and the European Atomic Energy Community (EAEC). Both the ECSC and EEC were later incorporated into the European Union while the EAEC maintains a distinct legal identity despite sharing members and institutions.
The Maastricht Treaty (1992) created the European Union with its pillars system, including foreign and home affairs alongside the European Community. This in turn led to the creation of the single European currency, the euro (launched 1999). The Maastricht Treaty has been amended by the treaties of Amsterdam (1997), Nice (2001) and Lisbon (2007).Merger Treaty
The Merger Treaty (or Brussels Treaty) was a European treaty which combined the three executive bodies of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) and the European Economic Community (EEC) into a single institutional structure.
The treaty was signed in Brussels on 8 April 1965 and came into force on 1 July 1967. It set out that the Commission of the EEC and the Council of the EEC should replace the Commission and Council of Euratom and the High Authority and Council of the ECSC. Although each Community remained legally independent, they shared common institutions (prior to this treaty, they already shared a Parliamentary Assembly and Court of Justice) and were together known as the European Communities. This treaty is regarded by some as the real beginning of the modern European Union.
This treaty was abrogated by the Amsterdam Treaty signed in 1997:
Without prejudice to the paragraphs following hereinafter, which have as their purpose to retain the essential elements of their provisions, the Convention of 25 March 1957 on certain institutions common to the European Communities and the Treaty of 8 April 1965 establishing a Single Council and a Single Commission of the European Communities, but with the exception of the Protocol referred to in paragraph 5, shall be repealed.Schengen Agreement
The Schengen Agreement (English: ) is a treaty which led to the creation of Europe's Schengen Area, in which internal border checks have largely been abolished. It was signed on 14 June 1985, near the town of Schengen, Luxembourg, by five of the ten member states of the then European Economic Community. It proposed measures intended to gradually abolish border checks at the signatories' common borders, including reduced speed vehicle checks which allowed vehicles to cross borders without stopping, allowing residents in border areas freedom to cross borders away from fixed checkpoints, and the harmonisation of visa policies.In 1990, the Agreement was supplemented by the Schengen Convention which proposed the complete abolition of systematic internal border controls and a common visa policy. The Schengen Area operates very much like a single state for international travel purposes with external border controls for travellers entering and exiting the area, and common visas, but with no internal border controls. It currently consists of 26 European countries covering a population of over 400 million people and an area of 4,312,099 square kilometres (1,664,911 sq mi).Originally, the Schengen treaties and the rules adopted under them operated independently from the European Union. However, in 1999 they were incorporated into European Union law by the Amsterdam Treaty, while providing opt-outs for the only two EU member states that had remained outside the Area: Ireland and the United Kingdom. Schengen is now a core part of EU law, and all EU member states without an opt-out which have not already joined the Schengen Area are legally obliged to do so when technical requirements have been met. Several non-EU countries are included in the area.Single European Act
The Single European Act (SEA) was the first major revision of the 1957 Treaty of Rome. The Act set the European Community an objective of establishing a single market by 31 December 1992, and codified European Political Cooperation, the forerunner of the European Union's Common Foreign and Security Policy. It was signed at Luxembourg on 17 February 1986, and at The Hague on 28 February 1986. It came into effect on 1 July 1987, under the Delors Commission.
A core element of the SEA was to create a single market within the European Community by 1992, when – it was hoped – the legislative reforms seen necessary would have been completed. To make the objectives possible, the SEA reformed the legislative process both by introducing the cooperation procedure and by extending Qualified Majority Voting to new areas. Measures were also taken to shorten the legislative process.
The SEA intended to remove barriers and to increase harmonisation and competitiveness among its countries.Treaty of Accession 1979
The Treaty of Accession 1979 was the agreement between the European Communities and Greece, concerning this country's accession into the EC. It entered into force on 1 January 1981. The Treaty arranged accession of Greece to the EC and amended earlier treaties of the European Communities. As such it is an integral part of the constitutional basis of the European Union.Treaty of Paris (1951)
The Treaty of Paris (formally the Treaty establishing the European Coal and Steel Community) was signed on 18 April 1951 between France, West Germany, Italy and the three Benelux countries (Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands), establishing the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), which subsequently became part of the European Union. The treaty came into force on 23 July 1952 and expired on 23 July 2002, exactly fifty years after it came into effect.
The treaty was seen as producing diplomatic and economic stability in western Europe after the Second World War. Some of the main enemies during the war were now sharing production of coal and steel, the key-resources which previously had been central to the war effort.
The Europe Declaration was signed by all the leaders present. It declared that the Treaty had given birth to Europe. It emphasised that the supranational principle was the foundation of the new democratic organisation of Europe. The supranational concept was opposed by Charles de Gaulle.Treaty of Rome
The Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU; also referred to as the Treaty of Rome) is one of two treaties forming the constitutional basis of the European Union (EU), the other being the Treaty on European Union (TEU; also referred to as the Treaty of Maastricht).
The Treaty of Rome brought about the creation of the European Economic Community (EEC), the best-known of the European Communities (EC). It was signed on 25 March 1957 by Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and West Germany and came into force on 1 January 1958. It remains one of the two most important treaties in the modern-day European Union (EU).
The TEEC proposed the progressive reduction of customs duties and the establishment of a customs union. It proposed to create a single market for goods, labour, services, and capital across the EEC's member states. It also proposed the creation of a Common Agriculture Policy, a Common Transport Policy and a European Social Fund, and established the European Commission.
The treaty's name has been retrospectively amended on several occasions since 1957. The Maastricht Treaty of 1992 removed the word "economic" from the Treaty of Rome's official title and, in 2009, the Treaty of Lisbon renamed it the "Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union".