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The Treaty of Rome, officially the Treaty establishing the European Economic Community (TEEC), is an international agreement that 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".
In 1951, the Treaty of Paris was signed, creating the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC). The Treaty of Paris was an international treaty based on international law, designed to help reconstruct the economies of the European continent, prevent war in Europe and ensure a lasting peace.
The original idea was conceived by Jean Monnet, a senior French civil servant and it was announced by Robert Schuman, the French Foreign Minister, in a declaration on 9 May 1950. The aim was to pool Franco-West German coal and steel production, because the two raw materials were the basis of the industry (including war industry) and power of the two countries. The proposed plan was that Franco-West German coal and steel production would be placed under a common High Authority within the framework of an organisation that would be open for participation to other European countries. The underlying political objective of the European Coal and Steel Community was to strengthen Franco-German cooperation and banish the possibility of war.
France, West Germany, Italy, Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands began negotiating the treaty. The Treaty Establishing the ECSC was signed in Paris on 18 April 1951, and entered into force on 24 July 1952. The Treaty expired on 23 July 2002, after fifty years, as was foreseen. The common market opened on 10 February 1953 for coal, iron ore and scrap, and on 1 May 1953 for steel.
Partly in the aim of creating a United States of Europe, two further Communities were proposed, again by the French. A European Defence Community (EDC) and a European Political Community (EPC). While the treaty for the latter was being drawn up by the Common Assembly, the ECSC parliamentary chamber, the EDC was rejected by the French Parliament. 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.
As a result of the energy crises, the Common Assembly proposed extending the powers of the ECSC to cover other sources of energy. However, Monnet desired a separate Community to cover nuclear power, and Louis Armand was put in charge of a study into the prospects of nuclear energy use in Europe. The report concluded that further nuclear development was needed, in order to fill the deficit left by the exhaustion of coal deposits and to reduce dependence on oil producers. The Benelux states and West Germany were also keen on creating a general common market; however, this was opposed by France owing to its protectionist policy, and Monnet thought it too large and difficult a task. In the end, Monnet proposed creating both as separate Communities to attempt to satisfy all interests. As a result of the Messina Conference of 1955, Paul-Henri Spaak was appointed as chairman of a preparatory committee, the Spaak Committee, charged with the preparation of a report on the creation of a common European market.
The Spaak Report drawn up by the Spaak Committee provided the basis for further progress and was accepted at the Venice Conference (29 and 30 May 1956) where the decision was taken to organise an Intergovernmental Conference. The report formed the cornerstone of the Intergovernmental Conference on the Common Market and Euratom at Val Duchesse in 1956.
The outcome of the conference was that the new Communities would share the Common Assembly (now the Parliamentary Assembly) with the ECSC, as they would the European Court of Justice. However, they would not share the ECSC's Council of High Authority. The two new High Authorities would be called Commissions, from a reduction in their powers. France was reluctant to agree to more supranational powers; hence, the new Commissions would have only basic powers, and important decisions would have to be approved by the Council (of national Ministers), which now adopted majority voting. Euratom fostered co-operation in the nuclear field, at the time a very popular area, and the European Economic Community was to create a full customs union between members.
In March 2007, the BBC's Today radio programme reported that delays in printing the treaty meant that the document signed by the European leaders as the Treaty of Rome consisted of blank pages between its frontispiece and page for the signatures.
|Paul-Henri Spaak · Jean-Charles Snoy et d'Oppuers||Belgium|
|Konrad Adenauer · Walter Hallstein||West Germany|
|Christian Pineau · Maurice Faure||France|
|Antonio Segni · Gaetano Martino||Italy|
|Joseph Bech · Lambert Schaus||Luxembourg|
|Joseph Luns · J. Linthorst Homan||Netherlands|
The Treaty of Rome, the original full name of which was the Treaty establishing the European Economic Community has been amended by successive treaties significantly changing its content. The 1992 Treaty of Maastricht established the European Union, the EEC becoming one of its three pillars, the European Community. Hence, the treaty was renamed the Treaty establishing the European Community (TEC).
When the Treaty of Lisbon came into force in 2009, the pillar system was abandoned; hence, the EC ceased to exist as a legal entity separate from the EU. This led to the treaty being amended and renamed as the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU).
In March 2011, the European Council adopted a decision to amend the Treaty by adding a new paragraph to Article 136. The additional paragraph, which enables the establishment of a financial stability mechanism for the Eurozone, runs as follows:
The Member States whose currency is the euro may establish a stability mechanism to be activated if indispensable to safeguard the stability of the euro area as a whole. The granting of any required financial assistance under the mechanism will be made subject to strict conditionality.
For details of the content of the Treaty as it stands after 2009, see Treaties of the European Union#Treaty on the functioning of the European Union.
It is important not to overstate the importance of the Rome Treaty. It represented for the most part a declaration of future good intentions...Most of the text constituted a framework for instituting procedures designed to establish and enforce future regulations. The only truly significant innovation – the setting up under Article 177 of a European Court of Justice to which national courts would submit cases for final adjudication – would prove immensely important in later decades but passed largely unnoticed at the time.
Major anniversaries of the signing of the Treaty of Rome have been commemorated in numerous ways.
Commemorative coins have been struck by numerous European countries, notably at the 30th and 50th anniversaries (1987 and 2007 respectively).
In 2017, Rome was the centre of multiple official and popular celebrations. Street demonstrations were largely in favour of European unity and integration, according to several news sources.
Maastricht Treaty (TEU)
|Content:||(founded WUDO)||(founded ECSC)||(protocol amending WUDO 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)|
|Western Union Defence Organization (WUDO)||Western European Union (WEU)|
|Treaty terminated in 2011|