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Between 1993 and 2009, the European Union (EU) legally comprised three pillars. This structure was introduced with the Treaty of Maastricht on 1 November 1993, and was eventually abandoned on 1 December 2009 upon the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon, when the EU obtained a consolidated legal personality.
Within each pillar, a different balance was struck between the supranational and intergovernmental principles.
Supranationalism was strongest in the first pillar. Its function generally corresponded at first to the three European Communities (European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), European Economic Community (EEC) and Euratom) whose organisational structure had already been unified in 1965–67, through the Merger Treaty. Later, through the Treaty of Maastricht the word "Economic" was removed from the EEC, so it became simply the EC. Then with the Treaty of Amsterdam additional areas would be transferred from the third pillar to the first. In 2002, the ECSC (which had a lifetime of 50 years) ceased to exist because the treaty which established it, the Treaty of Paris, had expired.
In the CFSP and PJCCM pillars the powers of the European Parliament, the Commission and European Court of Justice with respect to the Council were significantly limited, without however being altogether eliminated. The balance struck in the first pillar was frequently referred to as the "community method", since it was that used by the European Community.
The pillar structure had its historical origins in the negotiations leading up to the Maastricht Treaty. It was desired to add powers to the Community in the areas of foreign policy, security and defence policy, asylum and immigration policy, criminal co-operation, and judicial co-operation.
However, some member-states opposed the addition of these powers to the Community on the grounds that they were too sensitive to national sovereignty for the community method to be used, and that these matters were better handled intergovernmentally. To the extent that at that time the Community dealt with these matters at all, they were being handled intergovernmentally, principally in European Political Cooperation (EPC).
As a result, these additional matters were not included in the European Community; but were tacked on externally to the European Community in the form of two additional 'pillars'. The first additional pillar (Common Foreign and Security Policy, CFSP) dealt with foreign policy, security and defence issues, while the second additional pillar (JHA, Justice and Home Affairs), dealt with the remainder.
Amendments by the treaty of Amsterdam and the treaty of Nice made the additional pillars increasingly supranational. Most important among these were the transfer of policy on asylum, migration and judicial co-operation in civil matters to the Community pillar, effected by the Amsterdam treaty. Thus the third pillar was renamed Police and Judicial Co-operation in Criminal Matters, or PJCCM. The term Justice and Home Affairs was still used to cover both the third pillar and the transferred areas.
Since the end of World War II, sovereign European countries have entered into treaties and thereby co-operated and harmonised policies (or pooled sovereignty) in an increasing number of areas, in the so-called European integration project or the construction of Europe (French: la construction européenne). The following timeline outlines the legal inception of the European Union (EU)—the principal framework for this unification. The EU inherited many of its present responsibilities from the European Communities (EC), which were founded in the 1950s in the spirit of the Schuman Declaration.
F: entry into force
de facto supersession
Rel. w/ EC/EU framework:
de facto inside
|European Union (EU)||[ Cont. ]|
|European Communities (EC)||(Pillar I)|
|European Atomic Energy Community (EAEC or Euratom)||[ Cont. ]|
|/ / / European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC)|
|European Economic Community (EEC)|
|Schengen Rules||European Community (EC)|
|'TREVI'||Justice and Home Affairs (JHA, pillar II)|
|North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO)||[Cont.]||Police and Judicial Co-operation in Criminal Matters (PJCC, pillar II)|
|[Defence arm handed to NATO]||European Political Co-operation (EPC)|| Common Foreign and Security Policy |
(CFSP, pillar III)
|Western Union (WU)||/ Western European Union (WEU)||[Tasks defined following the WEU's 1984 reactivation handed to the EU]|
|[Social, cultural tasks handed to CoE]||[Cont.]|
|Council of Europe (CoE)|
In a speech before the Nice Conference, Joschka Fischer, then Foreign Minister of Germany, called for a simplification of the European Union. One of these core ideas was to abolish the pillar structure, and replace it with a merged legal personality for the Union. This idea was included in the Treaty of Lisbon, which entered into force on 1 December 2009. With a legal personality, Union is, for instance, able to be part of international treaties. The Treaty of Lisbon also states that "the Union shall replace and succeed the European Community," with the effect that, once the Treaty entered into force, the EU obtained the membership of the World Trade Organization (WTO) which had belonged to the European Communities pillar.
The abolition of the "3-pillar structure" was welcomed by practitioners and academics who had long considered the 'pillar metaphor" to be unrealistic, if not absurd. The idea that one pillar could be the Communities, while the other two were merely "policies" or "cooperation" was scarcely credible.
In the Lisbon Treaty the distribution of competences in various policy areas between Member States and the Union was reorganised into the following scheme:
The European Economic Community (EEC) was a regional organization that aimed to bring about economic integration among its member states. It was created by the Treaty of Rome of 1957. Upon the formation of the European Union in 1993, the EEC was incorporated into the EU and renamed the European Community (EC). In 2009, the EC formally ceased to exist and its institutions were directly absorbed by the EU. This made the Union the formal successor institution of the Community.
The Maastricht Treaty, concluded in 1992 between the 12 member states of the European Communities, is the foundation treaty of the European Union (EU). Formally the Treaty on European Union, it announced "a new stage in the process of European integration" chiefly in provisions for a shared European citizenship, for the eventual introduction of a single currency, and for common foreign and security policies. Although these were widely seen to presage a "federal Europe", the focus of constitutional debate shifted to the later 2007 Treaty of Lisbon. In the wake of the Eurozone debt crisis unfolding from 2009, the most enduring reference to the Maastricht Treaty has been to the rules of compliance – the "Maastricht criteria" – for the currency union.
The Western European Union was the international organisation and military alliance that succeeded the Western Union (WU) after the 1954 amendment of the 1948 Treaty of Brussels. The WEU implemented the Modified Brussels Treaty. During the Cold War, the Western Bloc included the WEU member states and the United States and Canada as part of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
The Treaty of Nice was signed by European leaders on 26 February 2001 and came into force on 1 February 2003.
The Treaty of Rome, or EEC Treaty, brought about the creation of the European Economic Community (EEC), the best known of the European Communities (EC). The treaty was signed on 25 March 1957 by Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and West Germany, and it came into force on 1 January 1958. Under the name "Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union", it remains one of the two most important treaties in what is now the European Union (EU).
Police and Judicial Co-operation in Criminal Matters (PJCC) was the third of the three pillars of the European Union (EU). It was named Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) before 1999. The pillar existed between 1993 and 2009, when it was absorbed into a consolidated European Union structure and became the area of freedom, security and justice.
The Treaty of Paris was signed on 18 April 1951 between France, Italy, West Germany, and the three Benelux countries, establishing the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), which subsequently became part of the European Union. The treaty came into force on 23 July 1952 and expired on 23 July 2002, exactly fifty years after it came into effect.
The European Atomic Energy Community is an international organisation established by the Euratom Treaty on 25 March 1957 with the original purpose of creating a specialist market for nuclear power in Europe, by developing nuclear energy and distributing it to its member states while selling the surplus to non-member states. However, over the years its scope has been considerably increased to cover a large variety of areas associated with nuclear power and ionising radiation as diverse as safeguarding of nuclear materials, radiation protection and construction of the International Fusion Reactor ITER.
The Treaty establishing the European Defence Community, also known as the Treaty of Paris, is an unratified treaty signed on 27 May 1952 by the six 'inner' countries of European integration: the Benelux countries, France, Italy, and West Germany. The treaty would have created a European Defence Community (EDC) with a pan-European defence force. The treaty failed to obtain ratification in the French parliament and it was never ratified by Italy, so it consequently never entered into force. Instead, the London and Paris Conferences provided for West Germany's accession to NATO and the Western European Union.
The European Communities (EC), sometimes referred to as the European Community, 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, 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.
The European Political Community (EPC) was proposed in 1952 as a combination of the existing European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) and the proposed European Defence Community (EDC). A draft EPC treaty, as drawn up by the ECSC assembly, would have seen a directly elected assembly, a senate appointed by national parliaments and a supranational executive accountable to the parliament.
The Treaty of Amsterdam, officially the Treaty of Amsterdam amending the Treaty on European Union, the Treaties establishing the European Communities and certain related acts, was signed on 2 October 1997, and entered into force on 1 May 1999; it made substantial changes to the Treaty of Maastricht, which had been signed in 1992.
The Merger Treaty, also known as the Treaty of Brussels, was a European treaty which unified the executive institutions of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) and the European 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 European Communities should replace the High Authority of the ECSC, the Commission of the EEC and the Commission of Euratom, and that the Council of the European Communities should replace the Special Council of Ministers of the ECSC, the Council of the EEC and the Council of Euratom. 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.
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.
The European Political Co-operation (EPC) was introduced in 1970 and was the synonym for European Union foreign policy coordination until it was superseded by the Common Foreign and Security Policy in the Maastricht Treaty of November 1993.
The Davignon report, also referred to as the Luxembourg report, published on 27 October 1970, was a report on the future foreign policy of European Economic Community member nations. It was written by a council chaired by Étienne Davignon of the Belgian Foreign Office. The committee was appointed by the Council of the European Communities to make proposals on political cooperation between the member states. It recommended that member states should try to speak with a single voice on international problems, a proposal that was approved by all six member governments. It resulted first in European Political Cooperation and later in the European Union's Common Foreign and Security Policy in 1992.
The Treaty of Brussels, also referred to as the Brussels Pact, was the founding treaty of the Western Union (WU) between 1948 and 1954, when it was amended as the Modified Brussels Treaty (MTB) and served as the founding treaty of the Western European Union (WEU) until its termination in 2010. The treaty provided for the organisation of military, economic, social and cultural cooperation among member states as well as a mutual defence clause.
TREVI was an intergovernmental network, or forum, of national officials from ministries of justice and the interior outside the European Community framework, proposed during the European Council meeting in Rome, 1–2 December 1975. It was formalized in Luxembourg on 29 June 1976 at a meeting of the European Council's Interior Ministers. It ceased to exist when it was integrated into the so-called Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) pillar of the European Union (EU) upon the entry into force of the Treaty of Maastricht in 1993.
This is a timeline of European Union history and its previous development.
This article outlines the history of the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) of the European Union (EU), a part of the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP).