The European Union (EU) is founded on 4 treaties, and everything in the EU is derived from treaties.
The founding Treaties are:
1. The ECSC (European Coal and Steel Community) Treaty.
Signed on 18 April 1951 in Paris.
Came into force on 23 July 1952.
Expired on 23 July 2002 (the other treaties cover now the coal and steel agreements)
Today the idea that the first treaty of the European Union had to do with coal and steel looks strange, but back in 1951, the years after the Second World War, reconstructing the economies of Europe was a top priority.
Positive results: Free movement of products, no customs duties, no discriminatory measures, no subsidies. This was the first step towards a European Union.
2. The EEC (European Economic Community) Treaty.
Signed on 25 March 1957 in Rome.
Came into force on 1 January 1958.
This is the Treaty of Rome.
The failure of the EDC – European Defense Community in 1954 proved that it was early for a common defense, but it was the right time for a common market. The treaty not only established the European Economic Community to improve the conditions for trade, but also was one more towards the integration and later unification of Europe.
Positive results: The establishment of a common market (to improve the standard of living and the relations between the states), a customs union (no quotas and customs duties between the members) and common policies (agricultural, transport and trade).
3. The Euratom Treaty – establishing the European Atomic Energy Community.
It is one of the treaties of Rome (signed in Rome the same time with the EEC Treaty).
Positive results: Promotion of research, dissemination of technical information, communication of programmes relating to nuclear power, medical research about permissible levels of radioactive contamination, health protection
4. The Maastricht Treaty – the treaty of the European Union (EU).
Signed on 7 February 1992 in Maastricht.
Came into force on 1 November 1993.
The European Economic Community is no longer an Economic Community only. This treaty called the union European Community (EC).
After the collapse of the communism and the new international environment (that included the plan for the German reunification), it was the time for the community to position itself as a superpower rather than simply an economic area.
The treaty contains provisions about a common foreign policy, judicial cooperation, and common foreign and security policy (CFSP).
There are 3 political and economic Pillars in this treaty:
1. The European Communities. Here are very important provisions about the rulemaking process in the EU: The proposals by the European Commission, the adoption by the European Council and the European Parliament, and the role of the Court of Justice.
2. The common foreign and security policy and police.
3. The judicial cooperation in criminal matters.
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