European Communities

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European Communities
Pillars of the European Union
European UnionCommon Foreign and Security PolicyPolice and Judicial Co-operation in Criminal MattersEuropean Communities
European Communities
The three pillars which constituted the European Union (clickable)
1993–2009 → EU
Constituent communities
European Coal and Steel Community 1952–2002
European Economic Community 1958–2009
European Atomic Energy Community 1958–present

The European Communities (EC), sometimes referred to as the European Community, [1] were three international organizations that were governed by the same set of institutions. These were the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), the European Atomic Energy Community (EAEC or Euratom), and the European Economic Community (EEC); the last of which was renamed the European Community (EC) in 1993 by the Maastricht Treaty, which formed the European Union.

Contents

When the Communities were incorporated into the European Union in 1993, they became its first pillar. The European Coal and Steel Community ceased to exist in 2002 when its founding treaty expired. The European Community was dissolved into the European Union by the Treaty of Lisbon in 2009; with the EU becoming the legal successor to the Community. Euratom remained an entity distinct from the EU, but is governed by the same institutions.

History

Three communities

Part of a series on the
History of the
European Union
Flag of Europe.svg
Flag of Europe.svg European Unionportal

The ECSC was created first. Following its proposal in 1950 in the Schuman Declaration, Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and West Germany came together to sign the Treaty of Paris in 1951 which established the Community. The success of this Community led to the desire to create more, but attempts at creating a European Defence Community and a European Political Community failed leading to a return to economic matters. In 1957, the EAEC and EEC were created by the Treaties of Rome. They were to share some of the institutions of the ECSC but have separate executive structures. [2]

The ECSC's aim was to combine the coal and steel industries of its members to create a single market in those resources. It was intended that this would increase prosperity and decrease the risk of these countries going to war through the process of European integration. The EAEC was working on nuclear energy co-operation between the members. The EEC was to create a customs union and general economic co-operation. It later led to the creation of a European single market. [2]

The EEC became the European Community pillar of the EU, with the ECSC and EAEC continuing in a similar subordinate position, existing separately in a legal sense but governed by the institutions of the EU as if they were its own. The ECSC's treaty had a 50-year limit and thus expired in 2002, all its activities are now absorbed into the European Community. [3] The EAEC had no such limit and thus continues to exist. Due to the sensitive nature of nuclear power with the European electorate, the treaty has gone without amendment since its signing and was not even to be changed with the European Constitution intended to repeal all other treaties (the Constitution's replacement, the Treaty of Lisbon, likewise makes no attempt at amendment). [4] [5]

As the EAEC has a low profile, and the profile of the European Community is dwarfed by that of the EU, the term "European Communities" sees little usage. However, when the EU was established the institutions that dealt solely or mainly with the European Community (as opposed to all three pillars) retained their original names, for example the formal name of the European Court of Justice was the "Court of Justice of the European Communities" until 2009 [6]

In 1967, the Merger Treaty combined these separate executives. The Commission and Council of the EEC were to take over the responsibilities of its counterparts in the other organisations. From then on they became known collectively as the "European Communities", for example the Commission was known as the "Commission of the European Communities", although the communities themselves remained separate in legal terms. [2]

Structural evolution of the European Commission

Signed
In force
Document
1951
1952
Paris Treaty
1957
1958
Rome treaties
1965
1967
Merger Treaty
2007
2009
Lisbon Treaty
    
  Commission of the European Atomic Energy Community Commission of the European Communities European Commission   
High Authority of the European Coal and Steel Community
  Commission of the European Economic Community
   

Pillar

The Maastricht Treaty built upon the Single European Act and the Solemn Declaration on European Union in the creation of the European Union. The treaty was signed on 7 February 1992 and came into force on 1 November 1993. The Union superseded and absorbed the European Communities as one of its three pillars. The first Commission President following the creation of the EU was Jacques Delors, who briefly continued his previous EEC tenure before handing over to Jacques Santer in 1994.

Only the first pillar followed the principles of supranationalism. [7] The pillar structure of the EU allowed the areas of European co-operation to be increased without leaders handing a large amount of power to supranational institutions. The pillar system segregated the EU. What were formerly the competencies of the EEC fell within the European Community pillar. Justice and Home Affairs was introduced as a new pillar while European Political Cooperation became the second pillar (the Common Foreign and Security Policy).

The Community institutions became the institutions of the EU but the roles of the institutions between the pillars are different. The Commission, Parliament and Court of Justice are largely cut out of activities in the second and third pillars, with the Council dominating proceedings. This is reflected in the names of the institutions, the Council is formally the "Council of the European Union" while the Commission is formally the "Commission of the European Communities". This allowed the new areas to be based on intergovernmentalism (unanimous agreement between governments) rather than majority voting and independent institutions according to supranational democracy.

However, after the Treaty of Maastricht, Parliament gained a much bigger role. Maastricht brought in the codecision procedure, which gave it equal legislative power with the Council on Community matters. Hence, with the greater powers of the supranational institutions and the operation of Qualified Majority Voting in the Council, the Community pillar could be described as a far more federal method of decision making.

The Amsterdam Treaty transferred rule making powers for border controls, immigration, asylum and cooperation in civil and commercial law from the Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) pillar to the European Community (JHA was renamed Police and Judicial Co-operation in Criminal Matters (PJCC) as a result). Both Amsterdam and the Treaty of Nice also extended codecision procedure to nearly all policy areas, giving Parliament equal power to the Council in the Community.

In 2002, the Treaty of Paris which established the European Coal and Steel Community (one of the three communities which comprised the European Communities) expired, having reached its 50-year limit (as the first treaty, it was the only one with a limit). No attempt was made to renew its mandate; instead, the Treaty of Nice transferred certain of its elements to the Treaty of Rome and hence its work continued as part of the EEC area of the Community's remit.

The Treaty of Lisbon merged the three pillars and abolished the European Community; with the European Union becoming the Community's legal successor. Only one of the three European Communities still exists and the phrase "European Communities" no longer appears in the treaties.

The abolition of the pillar structure was first proposed under the European Constitution but that treaty was not ratified.

EU evolution timeline

Signed:
In force:
Document:
1947
1947
Dunkirk
Treaty
1948
1948
Brussels
Treaty
1951
1952
Paris
Treaty
1954
1955
Modified
Brussels
Treaty
1957
1958
Rome &
Euratom
treaties
1965
1967
Merger
Treaty
1975
1976
Council
Agreement
on TREVI
1986
1987
Single
European
Act
1985/90
1995
Schengen
Treaty
&
Convention
1992
1993
Maastricht Treaty
1997
1999
Amsterdam
Treaty
2001
2003
Nice
Treaty
2007
2009
Lisbon
Treaty
 
              
Three pillars of the European Union:  
European Communities
(with common institutions)
 
European Atomic Energy Community (EURATOM)   
European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC)Treaty expired in 2002 European Union (EU)
   European Economic Community (EEC)  European Community (EC)
     Schengen Rules  
   Terrorism, Radicalism, Extremism and Violence Internationally (TREVI) Justice and Home Affairs
(JHA)
  Police and Judicial Co-operation in Criminal Matters (PJCC)
  European Political Cooperation  (EPC) Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP)
Franco-British alliance Western Union (WU)
( Cannibalised militarily by NATO in 1951)
Western European Union (WEU)
(Social and cultural activities transferred to the Council of Europe in 1960)
  
Treaty terminated in 2011  
            

Institutions

By virtue of the Merger Treaty, all three Communities were governed by the same institutional framework. Prior to 1967, the Common Assembly/European Parliamentary Assembly and the Court of Justice, established by the ECSC, were already shared with the EEC and EAEC, but they had different executives. The 1967 treaty gave the Council and Commission of the EEC responsibility over ECSC and EAEC affairs, abolishing the Councils of the ECSC and EAEC, the Commission of the EAEC and the High Authority of the ECSC. These governed the three Communities till the establishment of the European Union in 1993.

Members

The three Communities shared the same membership, the six states that signed the Treaty of Paris and subsequent treaties were known as the "Inner Six" (the "outer seven" were those countries who formed the European Free Trade Association). The six founding countries were France, West Germany, Italy and the three Benelux countries: Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. The first enlargement was in 1973, with the accession of Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom. Greece, Spain and Portugal joined in the 1980s. Following the creation of the EU in November 1993, it has enlarged to include a further sixteen countries by July 2013.

Founding members are shown in green, later members in blue. In 1957 the states that at the time formed East Germany were not part of the Communities, but they became so on German reunification in 1991. Expansion of the European Communities 1973-1992.png
Founding members are shown in green, later members in blue. In 1957 the states that at the time formed East Germany were not part of the Communities, but they became so on German reunification in 1991.
State Accession
Flag of Belgium (civil).svg Belgium25 March 1957
Flag of Italy.svg Italy25 March 1957
Flag of Luxembourg.svg Luxembourg25 March 1957
Flag of France.svg France25 March 1957
Flag of the Netherlands.svg Netherlands25 March 1957
Flag of Germany.svg West Germany25 March 1957
Flag of Denmark.svg Denmark1 January 1973
Flag of Ireland.svg Ireland1 January 1973
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg United Kingdom1 January 1973
Flag of Greece.svg Greece1 January 1981
Flag of Portugal.svg Portugal1 January 1986
Flag of Spain.svg Spain1 January 1986

Member states are represented in some form in each institution. The Council is also composed of one national minister who represents their national government. Each state also has a right to one European Commissioner each, although in the European Commission they are not supposed to represent their national interest but that of the Community. Prior to 2004, the larger members (France, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom) had two Commissioners. In the European Parliament, members are allocated a set number seats related to their population, however these (since 1979) have been directly elected and they sit according to political allegiance, not national origin. Most other institutions, including the European Court of Justice, have some form of national division of its members.

Policy areas

At the time of its abolition, the Community pillar covered the following areas; [8]

Privileges and immunities

The Protocol on the privileges and immunities of the European Communities [9] grants the European Communities and their institutions certain privileges and immunities such as to allow them to perform their tasks. The International Organizations Immunities Act (22 USC § 288h) [10] of the United States has also been extended to the European Communities.

The working conditions of staff are governed by the Communities' staff regulations [11] and not directly by the labour laws of the countries of employment. Their salaries, wages and emoluments are subject to a tax for the benefit of the European Communities and are, in turn, exempt from national taxes.

See also

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European Coal and Steel Community international organisation serving to unify European countries after World War II

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European Economic Community international organisation created by the Treaty of Rome of 1957

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Maastricht Treaty treaty that created the European Union

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President of the European Commission Head of the European Commission

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History of the European Union aspect of history

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European Atomic Energy Community International organisation

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A supranational union is a type of multinational political union where negotiated power is delegated to an authority by governments of member states.

The Merger Treaty, also known as the Treaty of Brussels, was a European treaty that unified the executive institutions of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) and the Economic Community (EEC). The treaty was signed in Brussels on 8 April 1965 and came into force on 1 July 1967. It set out that the Commission of the EEC and the Council of the EEC should replace the Commission and Council of Euratom and the High Authority and Council of the ECSC. Although each Community remained legally independent, they shared common institutions and were together known as the European Communities. This treaty is regarded by some as the real beginning of the modern European Union.

Three pillars of the European Union

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  1. The European Communities pillar handled economic, social and environmental policies. It comprised the European Community (EC), the European Coal and Steel Community, and the European Atomic Energy Community (EURATOM).
  2. The Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) pillar took care of foreign policy and military matters.
  3. Police and Judicial Co-operation in Criminal Matters (PJCCM) brought together co-operation in the fight against crime. This pillar was originally named Justice and Home Affairs (JHA)
Institutions of the European Union Decision-making bodies of the European Union

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The Euratom Treaty, officially the Treaty establishing the European Atomic Energy Community, established the European Atomic Energy Community. It was signed on 25 March 1957, at the same time as the Treaty establishing the European Economic Community.

History of the European Coal and Steel Community (1945–1957)

The period saw the first moves towards European unity as the first bodies began to be established in the aftermath of the Second World War. In 1951 the first community, the European Coal and Steel Community was established and moves on new communities quickly began. Early attempts at military and political unity failed, eventually leading to the Treaties of Rome in 1957.

History of the European Communities (1958–1972)

The history of the European Communities between 1958 and 1972 saw the early development of the European Communities. The European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) had just been joined by the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) and the European Economic Community (EEC), the latter of which soon became the most important. In 1967 the EEC's institutions took over the other two with the EEC's Commission holding its first terms under Hallstein and Rey.

Messina Conference

The Messina Conference of 1955 was a meeting of the six member states of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC). The conference assessed the progress of the ECSC and, deciding that it was working well, proposed further European integration. This initiative led to the creation in 1957 of the European Economic Community and Euratom.

Spaak Committee

The Spaak Committee was an Intergovernmental Committee set up by the Foreign Ministers of the six Member States of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) as a result of the Messina Conference of 1955. The Spaak Committee started its work on 9 July 1955 and ended on 20 April 1956, when the Heads of Delegation of the six Member States of the ECSC approved the Spaak report. The committee worked on two main topics, one was the creation of a general common market and the other one was the establishment of a European Community for the peaceful use of atomic energy.

Intergovernmental Conference on the Common Market and Euratom

The Intergovernmental Conference on the Common Market and Euratom was held in Brussels and started on 26 June 1956 with a session in the Grand Salon of the Belgian Foreign Ministry. The negotiations went on at the Château of Val-Duchesse in Auderghem (Brussels) and would continue until March 1957. The conference was held to draft the Treaties establishing the European Economic Community (EEC) and the European Atomic Energy Community. The conference built on the results of the Spaak Report of the Spaak Committee and the decision taken at the Venice Conference to prepare the plan for the establishment of a common market and the establishment of a European Community for the peaceful use of atomic energy.

High Authority of the European Coal and Steel Community

The High Authority was the executive branch of the former European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC). It was created in 1951 and disbanded in 1967 when it was merged into the European Commission.

European Union laissez-passer travel document issued to civil servants and members of the institutions of the European Union

A European Union laissez-passer is a travel document issued to civil servants and members of the institutions of the European Union. It is proof of privileges and immunities the holders enjoy. The document is valid in all countries of the European Union as well as in over 100 other countries. In 2006, the European Commission issued or renewed 2,200 laissez-passer, and other agencies may issue the document as well.

References

    • "European Community". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 30 January 2009. The term also commonly refers to the 'European Communities', which comprise ...
    • "Introduction to EU Publications". Guide to European Union Publications at the EDC. The University of Exeter. Archived from the original on 24 September 2007. Retrieved 30 January 2009. The European Community originally consisted of three separate Communities founded by treaty ...
    • Derek Urwin, University of Aberdeen. "Glossary of The European Union and European Communities" . Retrieved 30 January 2009. European Community (EC). The often used singular of the European Communities.
  1. 1 2 3 The European Communities, on CVCE website
  2. "Treaty establishing the European Coal and Steel Community, ECSC Treaty". Europa.eu. Archived from the original on 13 December 2007. Retrieved 4 June 2012.
  3. "Euratom reform". Eu-energy.com. Retrieved 4 June 2012.
  4. "Treaty establishing the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom)". Europa.eu. Archived from the original on 18 July 2012. Retrieved 4 June 2012.
  5. The Court of Justice of the European Communities
  6. "Is Europe a federal or a supranational union?". Schuman.info. Retrieved 4 June 2012.
  7. What are the three pillars of the EU?, Folketingets EU-Oplysning
  8. Protocol (No 36) on the privileges and immunities of the European Communities (1965), EUR-Lex
  9. 22 USC § 288h - Commission of European Communities; extension of privileges and immunities to members
  10. Regulation No. 31 (EEC), 11 (EAEC), laying down the Staff Regulations of Officials and the Conditions of Employment of Other Servants of the European Economic Community and the European Atomic Energy Community

Further reading