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 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.

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.