The European Community ( EC ) was a supranational organization that emerged from the European Economic Community (EEC) founded in 1957 with the Maastricht Treaty in 1993 . As one of the three European Communities, it was part of the first and most important of the three pillars of the European Union . The legal body of the European Community was thus the core of the European Union (EU). The basis of the EC was the Treaty establishing the European Community (EC Treaty).
Even before the Lisbon Treaty came into force , the term European Union had replaced the European Community in everyday language , but the EU and EC remained legally different institutions. Unlike the "umbrella organization" EU, the EC had its own legal personality and thus the ability to act under international law. With the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty on December 1, 2009, the existence of the EC ended. Its legal successor was the European Union, which was given legal personality through the treaty. The EC Treaty was renamed the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (AEU Treaty).
The predecessor organization of the European Community, the European Economic Community (EEC), was founded on March 25, 1957 in Rome by the six member states (Belgium, Federal Republic of Germany, France, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands) of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC, often also known as the coal and steel union). The basis was the Treaty establishing the European Economic Community (abbreviated to the EEC Treaty), the content of which was essentially drawn up at the Messina Conference . At the same time, the states also founded the European Atomic Energy Community (EAG or Euratom); The EEC Treaty and the Euratom Treaty are therefore collectively referred to as the Treaty of Rome . Together with the ECSC, which was founded in 1951, there were now three communities that are collectively referred to as the European Communities (EC). In 1967 the organs of these three communities were merged by the EC merger treaty . On May 11, 1967, the British government (under Harold Wilson (Labor), Prime Minister from October 1964 to June 1970) applied for membership of the EC; on November 27, 1967 Charles de Gaulle announced his or France's veto against the accession of Great Britain and put it in the meeting of the EEC Council of Ministers on December 19, 1967.
On January 1, 1973, Great Britain, Ireland and Denmark joined the EC ("EG-9"). Greece joined on January 1, 1981 ("EG-10"), and Spain and Portugal ("EG-12") on January 1, 1986; more see here .
With the establishment of the European Union (EU) by the Maastricht Treaty , which came into force in 1993 , the EEC was renamed “European Community” (EC), and the EEC Treaty became the EC Treaty . This change was intended to express the qualitative change in the EEC from a pure economic community to a comprehensive political organization that also dealt with environmental and social policy issues. However, this renaming did not change the existence of the three sub-communities (ECSC, EAG, EC), as it was not linked to a formal union of the three communities. The European Union itself was designed as an umbrella organization which, in addition to the three communities, also included the common foreign and security policy and cooperation in the field of justice and home affairs as further policy areas . However, different decision-making procedures applied to these than to the EC.
In the course of the founding of the EU, some organs of the EC also renamed themselves:
- The Council of the European Communities has been known as the Council of the European Union since November 8, 1993 (this is to be distinguished from the Council of Europe and the European Council ).
- The Commission of the European Communities has become the European Commission .
- The Court has in on 17 January 1994 European Court of Auditors renamed.
However, the legal acts adopted by the individual institutions remained legal acts of the respective Community.
As the importance of the ECSC diminished and Euratom only had a specialized task, the European Community formed the heart of the European Communities. The abbreviation "EG" could designate the three communities as a whole or the European Community alone. The three communities in turn formed the first and most important of the three pillars of the European Union . The aim of the EC was the establishment of a single market and - based on this - a European economic and monetary union . In addition, she had responsibilities in other policy areas such as transport, social affairs, the environment, research and technology, health, education, culture, consumer protection and development. In the Treaty reforms of Amsterdam 1997 and Nice 2001, various areas of cooperation in the field of justice and home affairs were also included in the EC Treaty. H. " Communitized ".
The contract on the European Coal and Steel Community expired in 2002 after a 50-year term. The Treaty of Nice of 2001 (entered into force in 2003) incorporated the ECSC provisions into the EC Treaty. The ECSC itself was dissolved.
With the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty on December 1, 2009, the European Community was finally dissolved. Its legal successor was the European Union, which was given legal personality for the first time by the same treaty. Formally, this merger of the EC and the EU took place in that the term “European Community” was consistently replaced by “European Union” in the EC Treaty; the treaty itself was renamed the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union . The attempt to merge the EC and EU treaties into a single text failed in 2005 with the EU constitutional treaty.
|European Communities||Three pillars of the European Union|
|European Atomic Energy Community (EURATOM)||→||←|
|European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC)||Contract expired in 2002||European Union (EU)|
|European Economic Community (EEC)||European Community (EC)|
|→||Justice and Home Affairs (JI)|
|Police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters (PJZS)||←|
|European Political Cooperation (EPC)||→||Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP)||←|
|Western Union (WU)||Western European Union (WEU)|
|dissolved on July 1, 2011|
- European Parliament (Art. 189 ff. EGV)
- Council of the European Union (Art. 202 ff. EGV)
- European Commission (Art. 211 ff. EGV)
- European Court of Justice (ECJ) (Art. 220 ff. EGV)
- European Court of Auditors (Art. 246 ff. ECV)
These bodies worked simultaneously for the entire European Union ( uniform institutional framework ).
The Council and the Commission were supported by the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions in accordance with Article 7 (2) of the EC Treaty . In contrast to the organs, however, these institutions only had advisory tasks.
Based on EC Treaty , the EC had its own competence to set secondary Community law as part of European law . These were to guidelines of the EC , EC Regulations or decisions of the EC . Since 1993 these have often been referred to in public not as directives, regulations or decisions of the EC, but of the EU, which was formally incorrect. Only since the merger of the EC and the EU through the Treaty of Lisbon in 2009 did they formally receive this name. Older legal acts retain the designation as EC legal acts in their official abbreviation, for example the Dublin II regulation of 2003 has the abbreviation Regulation (EC) No. 343/2003 .
Classification in the three pillars of the European Union
|European Communities (EC)||Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP)||Police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters (PJZS)|
European Community (EC):
With the Treaty of Amsterdam to the EC, before that in the third pillar "Justice and Home Affairs":
ECSC (own organization until 2002, afterwards tasks were taken over by EC):
|First pillar||Second pillar||Third pillar|
Before the Lisbon Treaty came into force, the EC, unlike the EU, had legal capacity and was able to conclude agreements that were binding under international law. The European Court of Justice granted it this status in 1971 and again in 1976 in the AETR doctrine due to the parallelism of internal and external legislative powers :
"If the community is responsible internally for the achievement of a certain goal, it also has exclusive external competence for this area, provided that foreign policy action is required for this purpose."
For example, the EC was a full member of the EBRD and had voting rights based on its deposits. To the organizations WTO , FAO and Euro Control , she was also involved. However, before the meetings with the EU member states, who are also represented in the organizations, they had to announce their voting behavior. If she fulfilled her mandate, she represented these states and cast her vote instead.
EC legal sources
- Primary Community Law
- Founding treaties (in particular treaty establishing the European Community )
- Act of Accession
- General principles of law, fundamental community rights
- Secondary Community Law