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The European Economic Community (EEC) was a regional organization created by the Treaty of Rome of 1957,Today the largely rewritten treaty continues in force as the ''Treaty on the functioning of the European Union'', as renamed by the Lisbon Treaty. aiming to foster economic integration among its member states. It was subsequently renamed the European Community (EC) upon becoming integrated into the first pillar of the newly formed
European Union
European Union
in 1993. In the popular language, however, the singular ''European Community'' was sometimes inaccuratelly used in the wider sense of the plural '' European Communities'', in spite of the latter designation covering all the three constituent entities of the first pillar. In 2009, the EC formally ceased to exist and its institutions were directly absorbed by the EU. This made the Union the formal successor institution of the Community. The Community's initial aim was to bring about economic integration, including a common market and customs union, among its six founding members:
Belgium
Belgium
,
France
France
,
Italy
Italy
,
Luxembourg
Luxembourg
, the
Netherlands
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
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
European Economic Area
, which encompasses 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 European 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.


History


Background

In April 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. With the aim of creating a federal Europe two further communities were proposed: a
European Defence Community The Treaty establishing the European Defence Community, also known as the Treaty of Paris, is an unratified treaty signed on 27 May 1952 by the Inner Six, six 'inner' countries of European integration: the Benelux countries, France, Italy, and We ...
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 The French Parliament (french: Parlement français) is the Bicameralism, bicameral legislature of the France, French Republic, consisting of the Senate (France), Senate () and the National Assembly (France), National Assembly (). Each assemb ...
. ECSC President
Jean Monnet Jean Omer Marie Gabriel Monnet (; 9 November 1888 – 16 March 1979) was a French civil servant, entrepreneur, diplomat, financier, administrator, and political visionary. An influential supporter of European unity, he is considered one of the ...
, 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 The Messina Conference of 1955 was a meeting of the six member states of the European Coal and Steel Community, European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC). The conference assessed the progress of the ECSC and, deciding that it was working well, pr ...
in 1955,
Paul Henri Spaak Paul-Henri Charles Spaak (; 25 January 1899 – 31 July 1972) was an influential Belgian Socialist Party, Belgian Socialist politician, diplomat and statesman. Along with Robert Schuman, Alcide De Gasperi and Konrad Adenauer he was a founding ...
was given the task to prepare a report on the idea of a customs union. The so-called Spaak Report of the
Spaak Committee The Spaak Committee was an Intergovernmental Committee set up by the Foreign Ministers of the six Member States of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) as a result of the Messina Conference of 1955. The Spaak Committee started its work ...
formed the cornerstone of the intergovernmental negotiations at Val Duchesse conference centre in 1956. Together with the
Ohlin Report The Ohlin Report was a report drafted by a group of experts of the International Labour Organization led by Bertil Ohlin in 1956. Together with the Spaak Report it provided the basis for the Treaty of Rome on the common market in 1957 and the crea ...
the Spaak Report would provide the basis for the Treaty of Rome. In 1956,
Paul Henri Spaak Paul-Henri Charles Spaak (; 25 January 1899 – 31 July 1972) was an influential Belgian Socialist Party, Belgian Socialist politician, diplomat and statesman. Along with Robert Schuman, Alcide De Gasperi and Konrad Adenauer he was a founding ...
led the
Intergovernmental Conference on the Common Market and Euratom {{EU history The Intergovernmental Conference on the Common Market and Euratom was held in Brussels Brussels (french: Bruxelles or ; nl, Brussel ), officially the Brussels-Capital Region (All text and all but one graphic show the English ...
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.


Creation and early years

The resulting communities were the European Economic Community (EEC) and the
European Atomic Energy Community The European Atomic Energy Community (EAEC or Euratom) is an international organization, international organisation established by the Euratom Treaty on 25 March 1957 with the original purpose of creating a specialist market for nuclear power i ...
(EURATOM or sometimes EAEC). These were markedly less supranational than the previous communities, due to protests from some countries that their
sovereignty Sovereignty is the defining authority within individual consciousness, Social constructionism, social construct, or territory. Sovereignty entails hierarchy within the state, as well as external autonomy for states. In any state, sovereignty i ...
was being infringed (however there would still be concerns with the behaviour of the
Hallstein Commission The Hallstein Commission is the European Commission that held office from 7 January 1958 to 30 June 1967. Its president was Walter Hallstein and held two separate mandates. Work It was the first commission on the European Economic Community and ...
). Germany became a founding member of the EEC, and Konrad Adenauer was made leader in a very short time. The first formal meeting of the
Hallstein Commission The Hallstein Commission is the European Commission that held office from 7 January 1958 to 30 June 1967. Its president was Walter Hallstein and held two separate mandates. Work It was the first commission on the European Economic Community and ...
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 Nuclear power is the use of nuclear reactions to produce electricity. Nuclear power can be obtained from nuclear fission, nuclear decay and nuclear fusion reactions. Presently, the vast majority of electricity from nuclear power is produced b ...
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 The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is the agricultural policy of the European Union. It implements a system of agricultural subsidies and other programmes. It was introduced in 1962 and has since then undergone several changes to reduce the ...
, 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 The president of France, officially the president of the French Republic (french: Président de la République française), is the executive head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona who officially emb ...
Charles de Gaulle Charles André Joseph Marie de Gaulle (; ; (commonly abbreviated as CDG) 22 November 18909 November 1970) was a French army officer and statesman who led Free France against Nazi Germany in World War II and chaired the Provisional Government ...
'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 The Luxembourg Compromise (or "Luxembourg Accord") was an agreement reached in January 1966 to resolve the " Empty Chair Crisis" which had caused a stalemate within European Economic Community The European Economic Community (EEC) was a ...
on 29 January 1966 whereby a
gentlemen's agreement A gentlemen's agreement, or gentleman's agreement, is an informal and legally non-binding wikt:agreement, agreement between two or more parties. It is typically Oral contract, oral, but it may be written or simply understood as part of an unspoke ...
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 A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority to Adjudication, adjudicate legal disputes between Party (law), parties and carry out the administration of justice in Civil law (common law), civil, C ...
. 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 Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev (2 March 1931 – 30 August 2022) was a Soviet politician who served as the 8th and final leader of the Soviet Union from 1985 to dissolution of the Soviet Union, the country's dissolution in 1991. He served a ...
described as a '' Common European Home''.


Enlargement and elections

The 1960s saw the first attempts at enlargement. In 1961,
Denmark ) , song = ( en, "King Christian stood by the lofty mast") , song_type = National and royal anthem , image_map = EU-Denmark.svg , map_caption = , subdivision_type = Sovereign state , subdivision_name = Danish Realm, Kingdom of Denmark ...
,
Ireland Ireland ( ; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic Ocean, in Northwestern Europe, north-western Europe. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel (Grea ...
, the
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a country in Europe, off the north-western coast of the European mainland, continental mainland. It comprises England, Scotlan ...
and
Norway Norway, officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic countries, Nordic country in Northern Europe, the mainland territory of which comprises the western and northernmost portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula. The remote Arctic island of ...
(in 1962), applied to join the three Communities. However, President Charles de Gaulle saw British membership as a
Trojan horse The Trojan Horse was a wooden horse said to have been used by the Greeks during the Trojan War to enter the city of Troy and win the war. The Trojan Horse is not mentioned in Homer's ''Iliad'', with the poem ending before the war is concluded, ...
for U.S. influence and vetoed membership, and the applications of all four countries were suspended.
Greece Greece,, or , romanized: ', officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country in Southeast Europe. It is situated on the southern tip of the Balkans, and is located at the crossroads of Europe, Asia, and Africa. Greece shares land borders with ...
became the first country to join the EC in 1961 as an associate member, however its membership was suspended in 1967 after a coup d'état established a military dictatorship called the Regime of the Colonels. A year later, in February 1962,
Spain , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = ''Plus ultra'' (Latin)(English: "Further Beyond") , national_anthem = (English: "Royal March") , i ...
attempted to join the European Communities. However, because
Francoist Spain Francoist Spain ( es, España franquista), or the Francoist dictatorship (), was the period of Spanish history between 1939 and 1975, when Francisco Franco ruled Spain after the Spanish Civil War with the title . After his death in 1975, Spani ...
was not a democracy, all members rejected the request in 1964. The four countries resubmitted their applications on 11 May 1967 and with
Georges Pompidou Georges Jean Raymond Pompidou ( , ; 5 July 19112 April 1974) was a French politician who served as President of France from 1969 until his death in 1974. He previously was Prime Minister of France of President Charles de Gaulle from 1962 to 196 ...
succeeding Charles de Gaulle as French president in 1969, the veto was lifted. Negotiations began in 1970 under the pro-European UK government of
Edward Heath Sir Edward Richard George Heath (9 July 191617 July 2005), often known as Ted Heath, was a British politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1970 to 1974 and Leader of the Conservative Party (UK), Leader of the Conserv ...
, who had to deal with disagreements relating to the
Common Agricultural Policy The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is the agricultural policy of the European Union. It implements a system of agricultural subsidies and other programmes. It was introduced in 1962 and has since then undergone several changes to reduce the ...
and the UK's relationship with the
Commonwealth of Nations The Commonwealth of Nations, simply referred to as the Commonwealth, is a political association of 56 member states, the vast majority of which are former territories of the British Empire. The chief institutions of the organisation are the C ...
. 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 The Treaty of Rome, or EEC Treaty (officially the Treaty establishing the European Economic Community), brought about the creation of the European Economic Community (EEC), the best known of the European Communities (EC). The treaty was signe ...
had stated that the
European Parliament The European Parliament (EP) is one of the Legislature, legislative bodies of the European Union and one of its seven Institutions of the European Union, institutions. Together with the Council of the European Union (known as the Council and in ...
must be directly elected, however this required the
Council A council is a group of people who come together to consult, deliberate, or make decisions. A council may function as a legislature, especially at a town, city or county/ shire level, but most legislative bodies at the state/provincial or ...
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 1979 European Parliament election). 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 The Flag of Europe or European Flag consists of twelve Or (heraldry), golden stars forming a Circle of stars, circle on a Azure (heraldry), blue field. It was designed and adopted in 1955 by the Council of Europe (CoE) as a symbol for the who ...
design used by the
Council of Europe The Council of Europe (CoE; french: Conseil de l'Europe, ) is an international organisation founded in the wake of World War II to uphold European Convention on Human Rights, human rights, democracy and the Law in Europe, rule of law in 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 A national flag is a flag that represents and symbolizes a given nation. It is Fly (flag), flown by the government of that nation, but usually can also be flown by its citizens. A national flag is typically designed with specific meanings for it ...
representing
statehood A state is a centralized political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions in groups, or other forms of power relations among individuals, such as the distribution of resources or status ...
, 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 The president of France, officially the president of the French Republic (french: Président de la République française), is the executive head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona who officially emb ...
Charles de Gaulle Charles André Joseph Marie de Gaulle (; ; (commonly abbreviated as CDG) 22 November 18909 November 1970) was a French army officer and statesman who led Free France against Nazi Germany in World War II and chaired the Provisional Government ...
'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 The Single European Act (SEA) was the first major revision of the 1957 Treaty of Rome. The Act set the European Economic Community, European Community an objective of establishing a single market by 31 December 1992, and a forerunner of the Eur ...
(see below).


Toward Maastricht

Greece Greece,, or , romanized: ', officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country in Southeast Europe. It is situated on the southern tip of the Balkans, and is located at the crossroads of Europe, Asia, and Africa. Greece shares land borders with ...
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 , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = ''Plus ultra'' (Latin)(English: "Further Beyond") , national_anthem = (English: "Royal March") , i ...
and
Portugal Portugal, officially the Portuguese Republic ( pt, República Portuguesa, links=yes ), is a Sovereign state, country whose mainland is located on the Iberian Peninsula of Southern Europe, Southwestern Europe, and whose territory also includes ...
applied to the communities in 1977 and joined together on 1 January 1986. In 1987
Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Türkiye ( tr, Türkiye Cumhuriyeti, links=no ), is a transcontinental country located mainly on the Anatolia, Anatolian Peninsula in Western Asia, with a East Thrace, small portion on th ...
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 The Single European Act (SEA) was the first major revision of the 1957 Treaty of Rome. The Act set the European Economic Community, European Community an objective of establishing a single market by 31 December 1992, and a forerunner of the Eur ...
was signed by the foreign ministers on 17 and 28 February 1986 in
Luxembourg Luxembourg ( ; lb, Lëtzebuerg ; french: link=no, Luxembourg; german: link=no, Luxemburg), officially the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, ; french: link=no, Grand-Duché de Luxembourg ; german: link=no, Großherzogtum Luxemburg is a small land ...
and
The Hague The Hague ( ; nl, Den Haag or ) is a list of cities in the Netherlands by province, city and municipalities of the Netherlands, municipality of the Netherlands, situated on the west coast facing the North Sea. The Hague is the country's ad ...
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 economic and monetary union (EMU) of the European Union The European Union (EU) is a supranational union, supranational political union, political and economic union of Member state of the European Union, member states that are ...
.


European Community

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 The procedures for voting in the Council of the European Union are described in the treaties of the European Union. The Council of the European Union (or simply "Council" or "Council of Ministers") has had its voting procedure amended by subsequ ...
in the Council, the Community pillar could be described as a far more
federal Federal or foederal (archaic) may refer to: Politics General *Federal monarchy A federal monarchy, in the strict sense, is a federation of Country, states with a single monarch as overall head of the federation, but retaining Non-sovereign ...
method of decision making. The
Treaty of Amsterdam The Treaty of Amsterdam, officially the Treaty of Amsterdam amending the Treaty on European Union, the Treaties establishing the European Communities and certain related acts, was signed on 2 October 1997, and entered into force on 1 May 1999; i ...
transferred responsibility for free movement of persons (e.g., visas,
illegal immigration Illegal immigration is the migration of people into a country in violation of the immigration laws of that country or the continued residence without the legal right to live in that country. Illegal immigration tends to be financially upwar ...
, asylum) from the Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) pillar to the European Community (JHA was renamed
Police and Judicial Co-operation in Criminal Matters The police are a Law enforcement organization, constituted body of Law enforcement officer, persons empowered by a State (polity), state, with the aim to law enforcement, enforce the law, to ensure the safety, health and possessions of citize ...
(PJCC) as a result).What are the three pillars of the EU?
Folketingets EU-Oplysning
Both Amsterdam and the
Treaty of Nice The Treaty of Nice was signed by European leaders on 26 February 2001 and came into force on 1 February 2003. It amended the Maastricht Treaty The Treaty on European Union, commonly known as the Maastricht Treaty, is the foundation treaty ...
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 The Treaty of Nice was signed by European leaders on 26 February 2001 and came into force on 1 February 2003. It amended the Maastricht Treaty The Treaty on European Union, commonly known as the Maastricht Treaty, is the foundation treaty ...
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 person In law, a legal person is any person or 'thing' (less ambiguously, any legal entity) that can do the things a human person is usually able to do in law – such as enter into contracts, lawsuit, sue and be sued, ownership, own property, and so o ...
ality, 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 The Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe (TCE; commonly referred to as the European Constitution or as the Constitutional Treaty) was an unratified Ratification is a principal (commercial law), principal's approval of an act of its ...
but that treaty failed ratification in 2005.


Aims and achievements

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: # The establishment of a customs union with a common external tariff # Common policies for
agriculture Agriculture or farming is the practice of cultivating Plant, plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of Sedentism, sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of Domestication, domesticated species created food ...
,
transport Transport (in British English), or transportation (in American English), is the intentional Motion, movement of humans, animals, and cargo, goods from one location to another. Mode of transport, Modes of transport include aviation, air, land ...
and trade, including
standardization Standardization or standardisation is the process of implementing and developing technical standards based on the consensus of different parties that include firms, users, interest groups, standards organizations and governments. Standardization ...
(for example, the
CE marking On Product (business), commercial products, the letters CE (as the logo ) mean that the Manufacturing, manufacturer or Import, importer affirms the good's conformity with European Environment, health and safety, health, safety, and environment ...
designates standards compliance) # Enlargement of the EEC to the rest of Europe Citing Article 2 from the original text of the Treaty of Rome of the 25th of March 1957, the EEC aimed at “a harmonious development of economic activities, a continuous and balanced expansion, an increase in stability, an accelerated raising of the standard of living and closer relations between the States belonging to it”. Given the fear of the Cold War, many Western Europeans were afraid that poverty would make “the population vulnerable to communist propaganda” (Meurs 2018, p. 68), meaning that increasing prosperity would be beneficial to harmonise power between the Western and Eastern blocs, other than reconcile Member States such as France and Germany after WW2. The tasks entrusted to the Community were divided among an assembly, the European Parliament, Council, Commission, and Court of Justice. Moreover, restrictions to market were lifted to further liberate trade among Member States. Citizens of Member States (other than goods, services, and capital) were entitled to freedom of movement. The CAP, Common Agricultural Policy, regulated and subsided the agricultural sphere. A European Social Fund was implemented in favour of employees who lost their jobs. A European Investment Bank was established to “facilitate the economic expansion of the Community by opening up fresh resources” (Art. 3 Treaty of Rome 3/25/1957). All these implementations included overseas territories. Competition was to be kept alive to make products cheaper for European consumers. 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.


Members

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 The Benelux Union ( nl, Benelux Unie; french: Union Benelux; lb, Benelux-Unioun), also known as simply Benelux, is a Political union, politico-economic union and formal international intergovernmental cooperation of three neighboring states in ...
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 East Germany, officially the German Democratic Republic (GDR; german: Deutsche Demokratische Republik, , DDR, ), was a country that existed from its creation on 7 October 1949 until German reunification, its dissolution on 3 October 1990. In t ...
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. Member states are represented in some form in each institution. The
Council A council is a group of people who come together to consult, deliberate, or make decisions. A council may function as a legislature, especially at a town, city or county/ shire level, but most legislative bodies at the state/provincial or ...
is also composed of one national minister who represents their national government. Each state also has a right to one
European Commissioner A European Commissioner is a member of the 27-member European Commission. Each member within the Commission holds a specific portfolio. The commission is led by the President of the European Commission. In simple terms they are the equivalent o ...
each, although in the
European Commission The European Commission (EC) is the Executive (government), executive of the European Union (EU). It operates as a cabinet government, with 27 European Commissioner, members of the Commission (informally known as "Commissioners") headed by a P ...
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 The European Parliament (EP) is one of the Legislature, legislative bodies of the European Union and one of its seven Institutions of the European Union, institutions. Together with the Council of the European Union (known as the Council and in ...
, 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 The European Court of Justice (ECJ, french: Cour de Justice européenne), formally just the Court of Justice, is the supreme court of the European Union in matters of European Union law. As a part of the Court of Justice of the European Unio ...
, have some form of national division of its members.


Institutions

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 the state 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 of Justice was the highest authority in the law, settling legal disputes in the Community, while the Auditors had no power but to investigate.


Background

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 The European Commission (EC) is the Executive (government), executive of the European Union (EU). It operates as a cabinet government, with 27 European Commissioner, members of the Commission (informally known as "Commissioners") headed by a P ...
. 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'').


Council

The
Council of the European Communities The Council of the European Union, often referred to in the treaties and other official documents simply as the Council, and informally known as the Council of Ministers, is the third of the seven Institutions of the European Union (EU) as ...
was a body holding legislative and executive powers and was thus the main decision making body of the Community. Its
Presidency A presidency is an Administration (government), administration or the Executive (government), executive, the collective administrative and governmental entity that exists around an office of President (government title), president of a state or nat ...
rotated between the
member states A member state is a state that is a member of an international organization or of a federation or confederation. Since the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) include some members that are not sovereign states ...
every six months and it is related to the
European Council The European Council (informally EUCO) is a collegiate body that defines the overall political direction and priorities of the European Union The European Union (EU) is a supranational union, supranational political union, political ...
, 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 heads of government and heads of state; these European summits followed the same presidency system and secretariat as the Council but was not a formal formation of it.


Commission

The
Commission of the European Communities The European Commission (EC) is the Executive (government), executive of the European Union (EU). It operates as a cabinet government, with 27 European Commissioner, members of the Commission (informally known as "Commissioners") headed by a P ...
was the executive arm of the community, drafting Community law, dealing with the day to running of the Community and upholding the
treaties A treaty is a formal, legally binding written agreement between actors in international law. It is usually made by and between sovereign state A sovereign state or sovereign country, is a polity, political entity represented by one centr ...
. It was designed to be independent, representing the interest of the Community as a whole. Every member state submitted one commissioner (two from each of the larger states, one from the smaller states). One of its members was the
President President most commonly refers to: *President (corporate title) *President (education), a leader of a college or university *President (government title) President may also refer to: Automobiles * Nissan President, a 1966–2010 Japanese ful ...
, appointed by the Council, who chaired the body and represented it.


Parliament

Under the Community, the
European Parliament The European Parliament (EP) is one of the Legislature, legislative bodies of the European Union and one of its seven Institutions of the European Union, institutions. Together with the Council of the European Union (known as the Council and in ...
(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 The Single European Act (SEA) was the first major revision of the 1957 Treaty of Rome. The Act set the European Economic Community, European Community an objective of establishing a single market by 31 December 1992, and a forerunner of the Eur ...
gave Parliament more power, with the assent procedure giving it a right to veto proposals and the
cooperation procedure The cooperation procedure (formally known as the Article 252 procedure) was one of the principal Legislature of the European Union, legislative procedures of the European Community, before the entrance into force of the Treaty of Amsterdam. It was ...
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 1979 European Parliament election). 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.


Court

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.


Auditors

The fifth institution is the ''
European Court of Auditors The European Court of Auditors (ECA; French: ''Cour des comptes européenne'') is one of the Institutions of the European Union, seven institutions of the European Union (EU). It was established in 1975 in Luxembourg City, Luxembourg in order to ...
''. Its ensured that
taxpayer A taxpayer is a person or organization (such as a company) subject to pay a tax. Modern taxpayers may have an Taxpayer Identification Number, identification number, a reference number issued by a government to Citizenship, citizens or Company, f ...
funds from the Community budget had been correctly spent by the Community's institutions. The ECA provided an audit report for each financial year to the Council and Parliament and gave 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.


Policy areas

At the time of its abolition, the European Community pillar covered the following areas;


See also

*
Economy of the European Union The economy of the European Union is the joint economy of the member states of the European Union (EU). It is the third largest economy in the world in List of countries by GDP (nominal), nominal terms, after the Economy of the United States, ...
*
Brussels and the European Union City of Brussels, Brussels (Belgium) is considered the ''de facto'' capital of the European Union, having a long history of hosting a number of principal Institutions of the European Union, EU institutions within its Leopold Quarter, European ...
*
Delors Commission The Delors Commission was the administration of Jacques Delors, the eighth President of the European Commission. Delors presided over the European Commission for three terms (though the last one lasted for around a year). The first term lasted ...
*
European Commission The European Commission (EC) is the Executive (government), executive of the European Union (EU). It operates as a cabinet government, with 27 European Commissioner, members of the Commission (informally known as "Commissioners") headed by a P ...
* European Customs Information Portal (ECIP) *
European Institutions in Strasbourg There are a range of European institutions in Strasbourg (France), the oldest of which dates back to 1815. In all, there are more than twenty different institutions based in the Alsace, Alsatian city.
* History of the European Communities (1958-1972) * History of the European Communities (1973-1993) * Location of European Union institutions *
Snake in the tunnel The snake in the tunnel was a system of European monetary cooperation in the 1970s which aimed at limiting fluctuations between different European currencies. It was the first attempt at European monetary cooperation. It attempted to create a sing ...


EU evolution timeline


Notes


References


Further reading

* Acocella, Nicola (1992), ‘''Trade and direct investment within the EC: The impact of strategic considerations''’, in: Cantwell, John (ed.), ‘''Multinational investment in modern Europe''’, E. Elgar, Cheltenham, . * Balassa, Bela (1962). ''The Theory of Economic Integration'' * * Hallstein, Walter (1962). ''A New Path to Peaceful Union'' * Milward, Alan S. (1992). ''The European Rescue of the Nation-State'' * Moravcsik, Andrew (1998). ''The Choice for Europe. Social Purpose and State Power from Messina to Maastricht'
Books
* Ludlow, N. Piers (2006). ''The European Community and the Crises of the 1960s. Negotiating the Gaullist Challenge'
The European Community and the Crises of the 1960s: Negotiating the Gaullist Challenge
* Warlouzet, Laurent (2018). ''Governing Europe in a Globalizing World. Neoliberalism and its Alternatives following the 1973 Oil Crisis'
Governing Europe in a Globalizing World: Neoliberalism and its Alternatives following the 1973 Oil Crisis


Primary sources

* Bliss, Howard, ed. ''The political development of the European Community: a documentary collection'' (Blaisdell, 1969). * Monnet, Jean. ''Prospect for a New Europe'' (1959). * Schuman, Robert. ''French Policy towards Germany since the war'' (Oxford University Press, 1954). * Spaak, Paul-Henri. ''The Continuing Battle: Memories of a European'' (1971)


External links


EEC on the UK Parliament website



Documents
of the European Economic Community are consultable at th
Historical Archives of the EU
in Florence

on CVCE website
History of the Rome Treaties
on CVCE website

* ttp://ec.europa.eu/ecip/index_en.htm European Customs Information Portal (ECIP)br>The history of the European Union
{{Authority control History of the European Union Organizations established in 1958 Organizations disestablished in 1993 Former international organizations 1958 establishments in Europe 1993 disestablishments in Europe States and territories established in 1958