European Community

The European Community (EC), most important of three European Communities, was originally founded on March 25, 1957 by the signing of the Treaty of Rome under the name of European Economic Community. The 'Economic' was removed from its name by the Maastricht treaty in 1992, which at the same time effectively made the European Community the first of three pillars of the European Union, called the Community (or Communities) Pillar.

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The Treaty of Rome signing ceremony

European Communities

European Communities is the name given collectively to the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), the European Economic Community (EEC), and the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom), when in 1968, they were first merged under a single institutional framework with the Merger Treaty.

EEC soon became the most important of these three communities, subsequent treaties adding it further areas of competence that extended beyond the purely economic areas. In 1992 the word 'Economic' was removed from its name by the Maastricht treaty.

The other two communities remained extremely limited: for that reason often little distinction is made between the European Community and the European Communities as a whole. Furthermore in 2002 the ECSC ceased to exist with the expiration of the Treaty of Paris which established it. Seen as redundant, no effort was made to retain it -- its assets and liabilities were transferred to the EC.

Community Pillar

The Maastricht treaty turned the European Communities as a whole into the first of three pillars of the European Union, also known as the Community Pillar or Communities Pillar. In Community Pillar policy areas decisions are made collectively by Qualified Majority Voting (QMV).

European Economic Community

The European Economic Community (EEC) was an organization established (1958) by treaty between Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and West Germany, known informally as the Common Market. The EEC was the most significant of the three treaty organizations that were consolidated in 1967 to form the European Community (EC; known since the ratification [1993] of the Maastricht treaty as the European Union, EU). The EEC had as its aim the eventual economic union of its member nations, ultimately leading to political union. It worked for the free movement of labor and capital, the abolition of trusts and cartels, and the development of joint and reciprocal policies on labor, social welfare, agriculture, transport, and foreign trade.

In 1958, Britain proposed that the Common Market be expanded into a transatlantic free-trade area. After the proposal was vetoed by France, Britain engineered the formation (1960) of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and was joined by other European nations that did not belong to the Common Market. Beginning in 1973, with British, Irish, and Danish accession to the EEC, the EFTA and the EEC negotiated a series of agreements that would insure uniformity between the two organizations in many areas of economic policy, and by 1995, all but four EFTA members had joined the European Union.

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 scrapped on certain products.

The future of the European Communities

The signed but unratified European Constitution would merge the European Community with the other two pillars of the European Union, making the European Union the legal successor of both the European Community and the present-day European Union. It was for a time proposed that the European Constitution should repeal the Euratom treaty, in order to terminate the legal personality of Euratom at the same time as that of the European Community, but this was not included in the final version.

See also

External link

bg:Европейска общност cs:Evropské společenství da:Europiske Fllesskab de:Europische Gemeinschaft fr:Communaut europenne id:Komunitas Eropa io:Europana Komuneso Ekonomiala is:Evrpubandalagi ja:欧州共同体 nl:Europese Gemeenschap pl:Wsplnota Europejska ro:Comunitatea Europeană tr:Avrupa Birli?i zh:欧洲共同体


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