The European Economic Community (EEC, for its acronym) was an economic union, promoted by a group of European countries, which precedes the current European Union. This was created in 1957, through the signing of the Treaty of Rome, and disappeared in 1993, when it joined the European Union under the name of the European Community (CE, for its acronym).
The European Economic Community, therefore, was an economic union, which emerged in 1957 after the signing of the Treaty of Rome. The EEC was born after the birth of other European communities, which had similar purposes, such as the ECSC or Euratom.
The EEC establishes one of the pillars of what, later, in 1993, would become the European Community, after the entry into force of the Maastricht Treaty. This agreement was born after integrating the EEC, in 1965, and through the Treaty of Brussels, to the countries that were part of the rest of the communities: the European Coal and Steel Community (CECA) and the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom ).
The European Community, which replaces the EEC, disappeared as such in 2009, when, through the Treaty of Lisbon, it incorporated the EC institutions into the broader framework of the European Union (EU), which was replaced and succeeded to the European Community.
This first European community, the EEC, was born with the union of six founding countries: West Germany, France, Italy, Holland (Netherlands), Belgium and Luxembourg.
The reason why the European Economic Community was created was economic integration, as well as the establishment of a common market and a customs union. In other words, it was a trade agreement to remove the barriers that existed for the exchange of goods between these European economies. For this, the agreement previously held by Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg, under the name "Benelux", served as a precedent.
Characteristics of the European Economic Community (EEC)
As a summary, let’s see the main features of this agreement:
- It is an economic union between European countries.
- It was born in 1957, with the Treaty of Rome.
- At the beginning, there were 6 members.
- Its objective was to establish a customs union and a common market. This, in favor of an economic integration already seen in agreements such as the one that gives rise to the CECA, or Benelux, and that precede this union.
- It establishes, together with its precedents, the bases for the creation and design of the European Union.
- In 1965 it merged with the rest of the European communities: Euratom and CECA.
- It became the European Community in 1993 through the Maastricht Treaty.
- After the union, the European Community becomes one of the 3 fundamental pillars of what we now know as the EU.
- It was dissolved in 2009, renamed the European Union (EU), with the Lisbon Treaty.
Member countries of the European Economic Community (EEC)
The agreement, which was born in 1957, comes through the union of 6 founding countries:
- West Germany.
- Holland (Netherlands).
On March 25 of that year, these countries make up what we know as CEE.
Likewise, it should be noted that in 1973 3 more countries joined:
- United Kingdom.
Later, in 1981, he joined the Grecia community, which did so officially on January 1 of that year.
Finally, it should be noted that in 1986 the following countries joined the EEC, making their accession effective on January 1 of that year:
Structure of the European Economic Community (EEC)
The EEC, to give us an idea, was managed through the creation of a series of Community institutions.
Among the institutions that we mention, the following stand out, with their respective functions:
- Commission : Formulates and applies community policies.
- Council of Ministers : Enactment of laws.
- European Parliament : Advisory body.
- European Court of Justice : Resolve legal disputes between countries.
Objectives of the European Economic Community (EEC)
Finally, and although they have been reviewed throughout the article, we must attend to the objectives that these countries were pursuing when they agreed, through the Treaty of Rome, to create the EEC.
Among these objectives, the following should be highlighted:
- Generate greater economic integration than that generated by previous agreements, such as Benelux, CECA or Euratom.
- Establish a common market, eliminating barriers to trade that previously existed between European economies.
- Generate a customs union, allowing free trade between the economies that made up this agreement.
- Strengthen the economy of the European continent, as well as establish the foundations of a more important union, such as the European Union (EU), through the Lisbon Treaty, in 2009.