|European Parliament Fact Sheets|
1.1.1. The first Treaties
MAIN PRINCIPLES - THE EEC TREATY TAKES THE LEAD
The European Communities (the ECSC, EEC and Euratom) were born of a gradual process of thinking about Europe, an idea that was closely bound up with the events that had shattered the continent. In the wake of the Second World War the major industries, in particular the steel industry, needed reorganising. The future of Europe, threatened by East-West confrontation, lay in Franco-German reconciliation.
1. The appeal made by Robert Schuman, the French Foreign Minister, on 9 May 1950 may be considered as the starting point for the Community. At that time, the choice of coal and steel was highly symbolic: in the early 1950s coal and steel were still seen as vital industries, the basis of a country's power. In addition to the clear economic benefits to be gained, the pooling of French and German resources was to mark the end of antagonism between the two countries. On 9 May 1950 Robert Schuman declared: 'Europe will not be built in a day nor as part of some overall design; it will be built through practical achievements that first create a sense of common purpose'. It was on the basis of that principle that France, Italy, Germany and the Benelux countries signed the Treaty of Paris, of which the main points were:
2. Following the signing of the treaty, although France was opposed to the reconstitution of a German national military force, René Pleven envisaged the formation of a European army. The European Defence Community (EDC) negotiated in 1952 was to have been accompanied by a political Community (EPC). Both plans were shelved following the French National Assembly's refusal to ratify the treaty on 30 August 1954.
3. Efforts to get the process of European integration under way again following the failure of the EDC took the form of specific proposals at the Messina Conference (in June 1955) on a customs union and atomic energy. They culminated in the signing of the EEC and EAEC Treaties.
a. The EEC Treaty’s provisions included:
To achieve these objectives the EEC Treaty laid down guiding principles and defined the framework for the legislative activities of the Community institutions. These involved common policies: the common agricultural policy (Articles 38 to 43), transport policy (Articles 74 to 75) and a common commercial policy (Articles 110 to 113).
The common market was to allow the free movement of goods and the mobility of factors of production (free movement of workers and enterprises, the freedom to provide services and the free movement of capital).
b. The Euratom Treaty laid down highly ambitious objectives, including the ‘speedy establishment and growth of nuclear industries'. However, owing to the complex and delicate nature of the nuclear sector, which touched on the vital interests of the Member States (defence and national independence), the Euratom Treaty had to scale down its ambitions.
4. The Agreement on certain joint institutions, which was signed and entered into force at the same time as the Treaties of Rome, stipulated that the Parliamentary Assembly and Court of Justice would be common institutions. It only remained to merge the 'executives', and the agreement of 9 April 1965 thereby completed the unification of the institutions.
From that time onwards, the EEC became more prominent than the ECSC and the EAEC (the sectoral Communities). It represented a triumph for the general purpose and institutions of the EEC over the two coexisting sectoral organisations.