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Walter Hallstein: First President of the Commission and visionary of European integration

11-07-2019

When Walter Hallstein became the first President of the European Economic Community Commission, in 1958, a long career already lay behind him: legal scholar, university professor, research manager, diplomat and German government representative at the conferences drafting the founding treaties of the European Coal and Steel Community and then the European Economic Community. The federalist ideas he developed and the emphasis he placed on supranational institutions remain among his most important legacies ...

When Walter Hallstein became the first President of the European Economic Community Commission, in 1958, a long career already lay behind him: legal scholar, university professor, research manager, diplomat and German government representative at the conferences drafting the founding treaties of the European Coal and Steel Community and then the European Economic Community. The federalist ideas he developed and the emphasis he placed on supranational institutions remain among his most important legacies. Equally significant was his administrative capacity to build an institution of a completely new type and to anticipate policies that seemed utopian at the time but turned out to be necessary many years later. This impetus to push for further integration earned Hallstein strong opposition from several national leaders, and eventually led to his precipitous departure. This briefing recalls three principal aspects of Hallstein's life: as a scholar and research administrator, as a protagonist of German foreign policy and, of course, as a crucial architect of the early period of European integration.

The ECSC Common Assembly's decision to create political groups: Writing a new chapter in transnational parliamentary history

12-06-2019

Political groups in the European Parliament contribute greatly to the institution's supranational character and are a most important element of its parliamentary work. Moreover, the Parliament's political groups have proven to be crucial designers of EU politics and policies. However, when the forerunner of today's Parliament, the Common Assembly of the Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), was established in 1952, the creation of political groups was not envisaged at all. Making use of its autonomy with ...

Political groups in the European Parliament contribute greatly to the institution's supranational character and are a most important element of its parliamentary work. Moreover, the Parliament's political groups have proven to be crucial designers of EU politics and policies. However, when the forerunner of today's Parliament, the Common Assembly of the Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), was established in 1952, the creation of political groups was not envisaged at all. Making use of its autonomy with regard to writing its rules of procedures, the ECSC Common Assembly unanimously decided, at its plenary session in June 1953, to allow the creation of political groups. With this decision, the ECSC Common Assembly became the world's first international assembly organised in political groups. This briefing analyses the decision of the ECSC Common Assembly to create political groups by bringing together political and historical science literature on the topic, as well as original sources from the Parliament's Historical Archives that record considerations and motives for the decision to create political groups. It will illustrate the complementary cultural, historical, organisational and financial reasons for this decision. Furthermore, it will demonstrate that, for the first ECSC Common Assembly members, it was highly important to take account of political affiliations in order to highlight the supranational character of the newly emerging Assembly. Finally, the briefing highlights that common work within the political groups was essential in helping to overcome early difficulties between the Assembly's members with different national backgrounds.

Political groups in the European Parliament since 1979: Key facts and figures

12-06-2019

This study seeks to fill a gap in research on the development of political groups, which have become a crucial component of the European Parliament. In fact, the creation of political groups can be traced back to a June 1953 decision of the Common Assembly of the European Coal and Steel Community, the European Parliament’s forerunner, to allow members to establish three political groups – Christian Democrats, Socialists and Liberals – and thus begin the formation of supranational links among Members ...

This study seeks to fill a gap in research on the development of political groups, which have become a crucial component of the European Parliament. In fact, the creation of political groups can be traced back to a June 1953 decision of the Common Assembly of the European Coal and Steel Community, the European Parliament’s forerunner, to allow members to establish three political groups – Christian Democrats, Socialists and Liberals – and thus begin the formation of supranational links among Members. The paper focuses on the period from the first direct elections, in 1979, to the end of the eighth parliamentary term, and includes data on group membership, on committee chairs by group, on political groups’ staffing and on the funding allocated to political groups and the linked European political foundations.

European elections: A historical perspective

05-06-2019

Between 23 and 26 May 2019, 427 million European Union (EU) citizens had the opportunity to vote for Members of the European Parliament. This was the ninth time that EU citizens could vote directly for the policy- and decision-makers who will represent them in EU politics. European elections are consequently one of the most important events in the EU political cycle. With a view to this year's European election and challenges to come for the new Parliament, many EU observers attached special historical ...

Between 23 and 26 May 2019, 427 million European Union (EU) citizens had the opportunity to vote for Members of the European Parliament. This was the ninth time that EU citizens could vote directly for the policy- and decision-makers who will represent them in EU politics. European elections are consequently one of the most important events in the EU political cycle. With a view to this year's European election and challenges to come for the new Parliament, many EU observers attached special historical significance to this ninth European election. Looking back, while the very first European election was held forty years ago, in 1979, the journey to holding European elections was long and complex.

Major sporting events versus human rights: Parliament's position on the 1978 FIFA World Cup in Argentina and the 1980 Moscow Olympics

13-06-2018

Major sports events and politics are closely intertwined. Well-known historical examples of major sporting events that were used by regimes for political propaganda purposes are the 1978 FIFA World Cup in Argentina and the 1980 Summer Olympic Games in Moscow. The 1978 World Cup took place around two years after the Argentinian military regime's right-wing coup and its violent repression of critics, and was then the most political World Cup in the history of the International Federation of Association ...

Major sports events and politics are closely intertwined. Well-known historical examples of major sporting events that were used by regimes for political propaganda purposes are the 1978 FIFA World Cup in Argentina and the 1980 Summer Olympic Games in Moscow. The 1978 World Cup took place around two years after the Argentinian military regime's right-wing coup and its violent repression of critics, and was then the most political World Cup in the history of the International Federation of Association Football (Fédération Internationale de Football Association: FIFA). The 1980 Summer Olympic Games in Moscow were the first to take place in eastern Europe and the first to be held in a socialist country. In addition, the 1980 Summer Olympic Games unleashed a hitherto, in the history of major sporting events, unprecedented boycott by 60 countries, in protest against the Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan in December 1979. The European Parliament's involvement in the debates on the political reaction to these two major sporting events is a largely unknown aspect of the history of the 1978 World Cup and the 1980 Summer Olympic Games. This Briefing will reconstruct these debates and the policy action that followed, based on new analysis of sources held in the Parliament's Historical Archives, and demonstrates that the EP's leitmotiv was the violation of human rights in both countries. Furthermore, the Briefing shows that these debates set the basis for the EP's current policy action when it comes to major sports events in countries with a poor track record of human rights.

The added value of the European Citizens' Initiative (ECI), and its revision

13-04-2018

The European Citizens' Initiative (ECI) is aimed at bringing the EU closer to its citizens, by enabling them to invite the European Commission to make a proposal for a legal act. Introduced by the Treaty of Lisbon, the ECI should provide every citizen with the right to participate in the democratic life of the Union. However, the ECI in practice has had various procedural hurdles, preventing the fulfilment of the regulation's objectives. The ECI is thus not fulfilling its potential with regard to ...

The European Citizens' Initiative (ECI) is aimed at bringing the EU closer to its citizens, by enabling them to invite the European Commission to make a proposal for a legal act. Introduced by the Treaty of Lisbon, the ECI should provide every citizen with the right to participate in the democratic life of the Union. However, the ECI in practice has had various procedural hurdles, preventing the fulfilment of the regulation's objectives. The ECI is thus not fulfilling its potential with regard to bringing the EU closer to its citizens. Against this background, the present study outlines the weaknesses in the existing ECI procedure. Moreover, it assesses, with a view to their added value, the main reform proposals that have been put forward to improve the ECI's functioning.

Cross-border restitution claims of looted works of art and cultural goods

09-11-2017

Works of art and cultural goods looted in armed conflicts or wars usually travel across several borders when they are sold. The cross-border character of looted art creates legal challenges for restitution claims as they often concern various national jurisdictions, with differing rules, as well as fragmented and insufficiently defined legal requirements in international and European legal instruments. Against this background, this European Added Value Assessment identifies weaknesses in the existing ...

Works of art and cultural goods looted in armed conflicts or wars usually travel across several borders when they are sold. The cross-border character of looted art creates legal challenges for restitution claims as they often concern various national jurisdictions, with differing rules, as well as fragmented and insufficiently defined legal requirements in international and European legal instruments. Against this background, this European Added Value Assessment identifies weaknesses in the existing EU legal system for restitution claims of works of art and cultural goods looted in armed conflicts and wars. Moreover, it outlines potential legislative measures that could be taken at the EU level and that could generate European added value through simplification and harmonisation of the legal system in this area.

Benefits of EU international trade agreements

25-10-2017

Trade is the EU's most important link to the world beyond its borders. In force since the 1957 Treaty of Rome, the transition to a common EU trade policy was completed in 1968. It is the EU's oldest instrument influencing the bloc's foreign relations. Today, Article 207 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) establishes the common trade policy as an exclusive EU competence. Following the procedure under that legal basis the EU negotiates, concludes and implements trade agreements ...

Trade is the EU's most important link to the world beyond its borders. In force since the 1957 Treaty of Rome, the transition to a common EU trade policy was completed in 1968. It is the EU's oldest instrument influencing the bloc's foreign relations. Today, Article 207 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) establishes the common trade policy as an exclusive EU competence. Following the procedure under that legal basis the EU negotiates, concludes and implements trade agreements. Currently, the EU is negotiating and up-dating Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with 19 countries and 2 sub-regional blocs, namely the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the Southern Common Market of South American countries (Mercado Común de Sur: Mercosur). Within the EU's latest trade strategy – the 2015 'Trade for All – Towards a more responsible trade and investment strategy', FTAs are considered instruments that contribute to the EU's objective of generating jobs and growth. About 31 million jobs in Europe depend, directly or indirectly, on the EU and its Member States' ability to trade. In other words, EU external trade concerns almost one in every seven jobs in Europe. In France, for example, over 2.2 million jobs rely on French exports outside the EU. Around 90 % of future global growth is expected to be generated outside Europe's borders. Figures show that the EU share of world GDP has slowly decreased in recent years (see graph below). Against this background, the EU needs to seize trade opportunities beyond its borders in order to gain higher levels of growth in Europe.

EU support for education: Improving young people's chances on the job market

07-04-2017

• The EU's ERASMUS+ programme is investing €14.7 billion in education (2014-2019). • ERASMUS+ will enable 4 million young Europeans to study or learn abroad. • Experience abroad increases young people's chances on the job market and reduces their risk of unemployment.

• The EU's ERASMUS+ programme is investing €14.7 billion in education (2014-2019). • ERASMUS+ will enable 4 million young Europeans to study or learn abroad. • Experience abroad increases young people's chances on the job market and reduces their risk of unemployment.

Impact of the ECSC Common Assembly on the politics, negotiation and content of the Rome Treaties

10-03-2017

As the historical framework for the present-day European Union (EU), the Treaties of Rome, signed in March 1957 and establishing the European Economic Community (EEC) and the European Atomic Energy Community (EAEC or Euratom), are among the most important treaties of the European integration process. The failure to set up a European Defence Community in 1954 provided the incentive for the EEC Treaty to envisage integration in economic as well as political terms. Crucially, the Rome Treaties provided ...

As the historical framework for the present-day European Union (EU), the Treaties of Rome, signed in March 1957 and establishing the European Economic Community (EEC) and the European Atomic Energy Community (EAEC or Euratom), are among the most important treaties of the European integration process. The failure to set up a European Defence Community in 1954 provided the incentive for the EEC Treaty to envisage integration in economic as well as political terms. Crucially, the Rome Treaties provided for the establishment of today's EU institutions, which have played a major role in securing the peaceful coexistence of Member States for the past sixty years. The Common Assembly (CA) of the European Coal and Steel Community (1952-1957) has long been overlooked as an important factor in the development of the Rome Treaties. As it was not directly involved in deliberations and negotiations on the treaties, it might easily be concluded that the CA did not play a significant role. This briefing demonstrates the very opposite. It was the CA that put the issue of an extended common market on the Community and Member States' political agenda, thereby relaunching European integration at a decisive moment in the EU's history. Furthermore, the CA effectively foreshadowed its future position and competences in a wider European community. The CA formulated demands for greater legislative and budgetary powers in order to overcome its subsidiary and consultative role. Given its political authority as the parliamentary representation of the people of the Community, the CA was successful in incorporating its demands into the deliberations and negotiations that led to the Rome Treaties.

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