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Meetings Calendar 2006
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The Treaties

 
1952 1993
1958 1999
1967 2003
1987 2004

 

1952

Treaty establishing the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC Treaty)
(Treaty of Paris, expired on 23 July 2002)

On 18 April 1951, six countries — Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands — signed the Treaty establishing the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC). The Treaty came into force on 23 July 1952.

The ECSC was the first supranational organisation in Europe’s history. Its objective was to promote and secure common economic development rather than the manufacture of weapons. Article 2 of the ECSC Treaty states: “The European Coal and Steel Community shall have as its task to contribute, in harmony with the general economy of the Member States and through the establishment of a common market (…) to economic expansion, growth of employment and a rising standard of living in the Member States.”

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1958

Treaty establishing the European Economic Community (EEC Treaty)
Treaty establishing the European Atomic Energy Community (EURATOM Treaty)

On 25 March 1957, six countries — Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands — signed the Treaties establishing the European Economic Community (EEC) and the European Atomic Energy Community (EURATOM), which entered into force on 1 January 1958. The Treaties were signed in the Capitol in Rome, hence the name “Rome Treaties”. The three organisations ECSC, EURATOM and EEC are enshrined in the Treaties. They are supranational in character and together make up the European Communities (EC).

The declared aim of the Treaties is to lay the foundations for an ever closer union among the peoples of Europe. This is to be achieved by:

  • developing common institutions,
  • merging national economies,
  • creating a common market, and
  • developing the peaceful use of nuclear energy (EURATOM)

Article 2 EEC Treaty: “The Community shall have as its task, by establishing a common market and progressively approximating the economic polices of the Member States, to promote throughout the Community 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.”

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1967

Merger Treaty (Treaty Establishing a Single Council and a Single Commission of the European Communities)

The Merger Treaty was signed on 8 April 1965 and entered into force on 1 July 1967. The Treaty consolidated the institutional structures: a single Council, a single Commission, a single administration of the Communities and a single budget were established.

Article 9 Merger Treaty: “A Commission of the European Communities (hereinafter called the 'Commission') is hereby established. This Commission shall take the place of the High Authority of the European Coal and Steel Community, the Commission of the European Economic Community and the Commission of the European Atomic Energy Community.”

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1987

The Single European Act (SEA)

The Single European Act (SEA) was signed on 17 February 1986 in Luxembourg and on 28 February in The Hague. It entered into force on 1 July 1987. The SEA was the first major revision of the Rome Treaties. The main changes it introduced were:

  • gradual creation of the internal market by 31 December 1992;
  • improvement of the functioning of the Community by changes to decision-making procedures, especially qualified majority voting;
  • new powers for the Community, particularly in the areas of regional policy, research and technology policy and environment policy;
  • European Political Cooperation, the forerunner of the European Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), is for the first time enshrined in the Treaty.

Article 13 SEA: “The internal market shall comprise an area without frontiers in which the free movement of goods, persons, services and capital is ensured in accordance with the provisions of this Treaty.”

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1993

Treaty on European Union (TEU)

The Treaty of Maastricht was signed by the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and of Finance on 7 February 1992 and entered into force on 1 November 1993. It was the second and most far-reaching revision of the founding Treaties. It created the European Union and thus the possibility to advance in the long term towards political union.

Main changes introduced by the Maastricht Treaty:

  • Creation of the EU as an overarching organisation founded on the three pillars

The three pillars are:

First pillar: EC/Euratom/ECSC

Second pillar: Common Foreign and Security Policy

Third pillar: Cooperation on justice and home affairs

  • Establishment of economic and monetary union by 1999
  • Increased rights for the European Parliament (introduction of the codecision procedure: the European Parliament participates in the legislative process on an equal footing with the Council)
  • The subsidiarity principle and proportionality principle are enshrined in the EC Treaty
  • Creation of Union citizenship.

Article 17 EU Treaty: “Citizenship of the Union is hereby established. Every person holding the nationality of a Member State shall be a citizen of the Union. Citizens of the Union shall enjoy the rights conferred by this Treaty and shall be subject to the duties imposed thereby.”

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1999

Treaty of Amsterdam

On 2 October 1997 the EU Foreign Ministers signed the Treaty of Amsterdam, which entered into force on 1 May 1999. In addition to substantive amendments, the main editorial changes concern a complete renumbering of the Treaty articles.

Key amendments:

  • Incorporation into the Community of matters relating to asylum, visas, immigration and border controls;
  • Integration of the Schengen acquis into the legal framework of the European Union with the aim of creating an area of freedom, security and justice;
  • Function of High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy created;
  • Introduction of a section on employment policy;
  • Possibility of public meetings of the Council introduced to make EU decision-making more open and closer to the citizen.

The Treaty of Amsterdam states for the first time the principles on which the EU is based:

Article 6 EU Treaty (as amended by the Treaty of Amsterdam): “The Union is founded on the principles of liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and the rule of law, principles which are common to the Member States. “

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2003

Treaty of Nice

The Treaty of Nice was signed on 26 February 2001 in Nice and entered into force on 1 February 2003. The aim of the Treaty was to prepare the European institutions for enlargement by ten new Member States.

The institutional changes introduced by the Treaty of Nice mainly concern the extension of qualified majority voting in the Council of the European Union, the nomination and role of the president of the European Commission, the division of jurisdiction between the Court of Justice of the European Communities (CJEC) and the Court of First Instance of the European Communities (CFIEC), and changes to the weighting of votes in the Council. The maximum number of members of the European Parliament was increased from 700 to 732, and provision was made to reduce the size of the Commission following accession of the 27th Member State according to the principle of equal rotation of the post of commissioner among the Member States.

The Treaty amended the provisions on “Enhanced cooperation” to facilitate deeper integration on the part of individual Member States. The main substantive changes include the extension of powers to conclude agreements to trade in services and the commercial aspects of intellectual property. A new legal basis for sanctions against Member States that violate the fundamental principles of the Union was introduced.

The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union is not an integral part of the Treaty of Nice. It was the subject of a solemn proclamation by the Heads of State or Government in Nice and is not legally binding.

The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (Preamble): “The peoples of Europe, in creating an ever closer union among them, are resolved to share a peaceful future based on common values.”

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2004

Treaty on a Constitution for Europe

On 29 October the Heads of State or Government and the Foreign Ministers of the EU Member States signed the Treaty on a Constitution for Europe in Rome. In order to enter into force, the Constitutional Treaty must be ratified in all Member States. Since the Constitutional Treaty was defeated by a majority of the votes in referenda in France and the Netherlands, it is unclear whether and when the ratification process can be successfully concluded.

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Date: 31.12.2005