European Economic Community

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Founding members of the EEC

European Economic Community ( EEC ) was the name of an association of European states. The goal was European integration through a common economic policy . On March 25, 1957, the EEC was founded by Belgium , France , Italy , Luxembourg , the Netherlands and the Federal Republic of Germany .

At the same time, Euratom was founded for cooperation in the field of nuclear energy. The two treaties are called the Treaties of Rome . Then there was the European Coal and Steel Community , which had existed since 1952. Together they spoke of the three European Communities. The EEC became by far the most important of these. However, they had already had the same organs since 1967.

The Maastricht Treaty was signed on February 7, 1992 . It came into force on November 1, 1993. He renamed the EEC, which in the meantime had received additional tasks, to the European Community (EC). On December 1, 2009, the Lisbon Treaty entered into force. As a result, areas of cooperation that did not belong to the EC were also integrated. This is how today's European Union came into being .


The European flag , official symbol of the EEC from 1986

The idea of ​​creating a common market goes back to the time of the failed EVG contracts in 1952. Various European politicians such as Jean Monnet , the Belgian Foreign Minister Paul-Henri Spaak and his Dutch counterpart Willem Beyen were instrumental in reviving the European idea. They saw the best possibility of European cooperation in the economic field, since after the rejection of the EDC by the French National Assembly (August 30, 1954) this form of European cooperation in the military and political field had initially failed.

At the Messina Conference in June 1955, the Foreign Ministers of the ECSC decided on a general economic unification of the national economies, the creation of joint supranational institutions, social harmonization through the implementation of general social standards and cooperation in the nuclear sector. At the Messina Conference it was decided to set up a government committee chaired by Paul-Henri Spaak (“ Spaak Commission ”) to work out the foundations and possibilities of the common market (question of including various economic sectors). There were different currents within the German federal government ; two dominated:

  • the institutionalists wanted to achieve the economic integration of Europe through economic regulations and a central high authority;
  • the functionalists, on the other hand, wanted to realize it through free trade and as little intervention as possible by a European organ .

The six states of the ECSC agreed in the intergovernmental negotiations on the basis of the report of the Spaak Commission on the unification of the common market

An agreement was also reached on the civilian use of atomic energy ( Euratom ). The negotiations on the common market were influenced by the Hungarian uprising (1956) and the Suez crisis ; these made the heads of government vividly aware of the need for European cooperation. The treaty establishing the European Economic Community (EEC Treaty) and that of the European Atomic Energy Community (EAEC Treaty / Euratom) were signed on March 25, 1957 in Rome by the six members of the Coal and Steel Community - France , Italy , the Federal Republic of Germany , Belgium , the Netherlands and Luxembourg - signed ( Treaty of Rome ). On January 1, 1958, the treaties came into force; Walter Hallstein became the first President of the EEC Commission.

On January 1, 1961, there was a first partial adjustment of the national tariffs of the EEC states with the aim of a uniform external tariff . The implementation of the customs union and the introduction of a common external tariff took place on July 1, 1968. In June 1961 an association agreement between the EEC and Greece was signed.

In the summer of 1961, the three states Ireland (July 31st), the United Kingdom (August 9th) and Denmark (August 10th) applied for membership of the EEC. On April 30, 1962, Norway also applied for membership.

On January 14, 1963, the French President de Gaulle spoke out against the UK joining the EEC. His veto surprised the EEC Commission and the five other member states.

On January 29, 1963, membership negotiations between the EEC and the United Kingdom were broken off. On July 20, 1963 the Yaoundé Agreement (an association agreement between Francophone African states and Madagascar with the EEC) was signed and on September 12, 1963 with Turkey . On April 8, 1965, an agreement was signed to set up a joint council and a joint commission of the European Communities ("Merger Agreement ") ; the executive bodies of the European Communities (ECSC, EEC and Euratom) were thus merged.

In 1967 the United Kingdom (May 10), Denmark (May 11) and Norway (July 24) applied for the second time to join the EEC and Sweden for the first time on July 28. An association agreement between the EEC and Morocco and Tunisia was concluded on March 4, 1969. On July 29, 1969, a second Yaoundé Agreement was signed, which came into force on January 1, 1971.

On December 1 and 2, 1969, the heads of state and government of the EC (in the meantime Georges Pompidou was French President) at their summit in The Hague passed resolutions on accelerated integration, the introduction of an economic and monetary union (EMU) by 1980 and political Cooperation and the opening of accession negotiations with Denmark, the United Kingdom, Ireland and Norway. These negotiations began on June 30, 1970. In a referendum in September 1972 , 53.5 percent of those who voted refused to allow Norway to join the EEC. Denmark, the United Kingdom and Ireland joined on January 1, 1973.

In 1993 the Treaty of Maastricht renamed the EEC to the European Community (EC) and was one of the three pillars of the European Union . The other two pillars concerned internal and external security. Cooperation was organized differently in these areas, so the European Parliament had little say. However, only the EC had legal personality.

Member States

The following table shows all states that belonged to the European Economic Community before it was renamed European Community (November 1, 1993).

Europe between 1986 and 1990, the EEC colored blue
Country accession Population (1990)
BelgiumBelgium Belgium 25th Mar 1957 10,016,000
DenmarkDenmark Denmark 0Jan. 1, 1973 5,146,556
FranceFrance France 25th Mar 1957 56,718,000
GermanyGermany Federal Republic of Germany 25th Mar 1957 63,254,000
GreeceGreece Greece 0Jan. 1, 1981 10,120,000
IrelandIreland Ireland 0Jan. 1, 1973 3,521,000
ItalyItaly Italy 25th Mar 1957 56,762,700
LuxembourgLuxembourg Luxembourg 25th Mar 1957 384,400
NetherlandsNetherlands Netherlands 25th Mar 1957 14,892,300
PortugalPortugal Portugal 0Jan. 1, 1986 9,862,500
SpainSpain Spain 0Jan. 1, 1986 38,993,800
United KingdomUnited Kingdom United Kingdom 0Jan. 1, 1973 57,681,000
Notes on this
  1. Due to its affiliation with Denmark, Greenland was also a member of the European Economic Community, but resigned after successful attempts at autonomy and after a referendum in 1982 . See Greenland Treaty .

Chronological order

in force
European Act
  Pix.gif Pix.gif Pix.gif Pix.gif Pix.gif Pix.gif Pix.gif Pix.gif
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

See also


  • Oliver Bange : The EEC Crisis of 1963. Kennedy, Macmillan, de Gaulle and Adenauer in Conflict (= Issues of Contemporary History ). With a foreword by Peter Catterall. Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke 1999, ISBN 978-0-312-22018-1 (English).
  • Alexander Berens: The European Economic Community's path to the empty chair policy and the Luxembourg compromise . Diss., University of Düsseldorf 2002.
  • Pierre Gerbet: La naissance du marché commun . Éditions Complexe, Brussels 1987, ISBN 2-87027-222-7 (French).
  • Franz Knipping: Rome, March 25, 1957 - The unification of Europe . dtv 30609, Munich 2004, ISBN 3-423-30609-2 .
  • Franz Knipping, Matthias Schönwald (ed.): Departure to Europe of the second generation. European unification 1969–1984 . Wissenschaftlicher Verlag (WVT), Trier 2004, ISBN 3-88476-652-X .
  • Jürgen Mittag : A brief history of the European Union. From the European idea to the present . Aschendorff, Münster 2008, ISBN 978-3-402-00234-6 .
  • Guido Thiemeyer : From “Pool vert” to the European Economic Community. European integration, the cold war and the beginnings of the common European agricultural policy 1950–1957 . Oldenbourg, Munich 1999, ISBN 3-486-56427-7 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. a b Treaty establishing the European Economic Community, EEC Treaty - original text (unconsolidated version). Retrieved September 18, 2011 .
  2. Video of the press conference .
  3. Figures from .