European Community (EC)

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  • Post last modified:December 15, 2023
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The term “European Community” (EC) historically referred to one of the three pillars of the European Union (EU) before the EU underwent significant institutional changes with the Treaty of Lisbon in 2009. The European Community was established to promote economic integration among its member states and create a single market. The other two pillars were the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and Justice and Home Affairs (JHA).

Key points about the European Community include:

1. **Founding Treaties:** The European Community was created by the signing of the Treaties of Paris (1951) and Rome (1957). The Treaty of Paris established the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), and the Treaty of Rome created the European Economic Community (EEC) and the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom). These communities formed the basis for the later integration of the European Community.

2. **Objectives:** The primary objectives of the European Community were to establish a common market among member states, eliminate trade barriers, and promote economic cooperation. Over time, the EC evolved into a broader entity with policies covering various aspects of economic and social development.

3. **Single European Act (1986):** The Single European Act marked a significant step in the evolution of the European Community. It aimed to create a single European market by 1992, removing barriers to the free movement of goods, services, people, and capital among member states.

4. **Maastricht Treaty (1992):** The Maastricht Treaty transformed the European Community into the European Union. It introduced the concept of European citizenship, laid the groundwork for the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), and established the three pillars of the EU—Economic and Monetary Union, Common Foreign and Security Policy, and Justice and Home Affairs.

5. **Treaty of Amsterdam (1997):** The Treaty of Amsterdam further amended the founding treaties of the European Union and enhanced cooperation in areas such as employment, social policy, and environmental protection.

6. **Treaty of Nice (2001):** The Treaty of Nice addressed institutional reforms and enlargement issues, preparing the EU for its eastward expansion.

7. **Treaty of Lisbon (2009):** The Treaty of Lisbon, which entered into force on December 1, 2009, replaced the existing EU treaties and institutions. It abolished the pillar structure and merged the European Community into the EU. The EU institutions were reformed to enhance efficiency and democratic accountability.

As a result of the Treaty of Lisbon, the term “European Community” is no longer used, and the EU is now the overarching entity encompassing various policy areas and institutions. The EU is characterized by its common policies, a single legal personality, and the euro as its official currency in the Eurozone.