The Creation of a European Union

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Why were the European Communities created? What did they comprise?

  • The end of the Second World War marks a catalyst which set in motion the events which led to the creation of the European Union. 
  • The economies of the European States had been devastated by successive wars and the peoples of Europe were anxious to build a peaceful and more stable future for themselves. 
  • America saw a united Europe as a block to the Eastern bloc and so provided financial aid to Europe under the Marshall Plan. 
  • Other early organisations such as NATO signified co-operation between European countries. 

The Council of Europe

  • Further co-operation between European governments led, in 1947, to the creation of the Council of Europe. The Council of Europe was an intergovernmental organisation which adopted the European Convention on Human Rights and established the European Court of Human Rights.

The European Coal and Steel Community 

  • French economist Jean Monnet proposed a plan based on economic co-operation in Europe. This was adopted by Robert Schuman. The plan involved the integration of the French and German coal and steel industries, as a means of establishing a relationship between the two countries. The two countries would be closely monitored, meaning that the oppurtunity to rearm was reduced. 
  • The invitation to participate was extended to other European countries because the idea also included increasing security on a wider basis. 
  • This resulted in the singing of the Treaty of Paris in 1951. This was signed by six countries. These were; France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. 
  • The UK declared that it had no need to join as it was able to 'stand on its own two feet'. 
  • Four independent Institutions were set up to run the European Coal and Steel Community. These were the High Authority, and Assembly, a Council and a Court of Justice. 
  • The primary aim of the European Coal and Steel Community was the creation of a common market in coal and steel, with common policies and the removal of all barriers to trade in those commodoties, it should not be forgotten that the contracting States saw economic co-operation as a means to an end. Ensuring that the longer-term aims of peace and European unity were achieved was the focus, if not the immediate emphasis of the Community. 
  • The Treaty of Paris alludes to the aim of maintaining peace and stability within Europe. 
  • It should be noted that the Treaty of Paris expired in July 2002 and ECSC funds have since been transferred to the EU, to be used for research in sectors relating to coal and steel industries. 

The European Economic Community (EEC) 

  • The Treaty of Rome established the European Economic Community. The same six Member States signed this as the Treaty of Paris. These were France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg. 
  • The European Economic Community was much broader in its approach than the European Coal and Steel Community because it aimed to integrate all aspects of economies of the Member States as opposed…


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