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Treaty of Rome
Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union
25 March 1957
Rome, Italy
Effective 1 January 1958
Signatories "The Six":
West Germany
Wikisource logo The Treaty establishing the European Economic Community (EEC) at Wikisource

The Treaties of Rome are two of the treaties of the European Union signed on 25 March 1957. Both treaties were signed by The Six: Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and West Germany.

The first established the European Economic Community (EEC) and the second established the European Atomic Energy Community (EAEC or Euratom). They were the first international organisations to be based on supranationalism, after the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) established a few years prior.

The treaties came into force on 1 January 1958 and the EEC treaty has been amended many times (see Treaties of the European Union). The updated Treaty of Rome is now called the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.



In 1951, the Treaty of Paris was signed, creating the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC). The Treaty of Paris was an international treaty based on international law, designed to help reconstruct the economies of the European continent, prevent war in Europe and ensure a lasting peace.

The original idea was conceived by Jean Monnet, a senior French civil servant and it was announced by Robert Schuman, the French Foreign Minister, in a declaration on 9 May 1950. The aim was to pool Franco-German coal and steel production, as these two raw materials were the basis of the industry (including war industry) and power of the two countries. The proposed plan was that Franco-German coal and steel production would be placed under a common High Authority within the framework of an organisation which would be open for participation to other European countries. The underlying political objective of the European Coal and Steel Community was to strengthen Franco-German cooperation and banish the possibility of war.

France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands began negotiating the treaty. The Treaty establishing the ECSC was signed in Paris on 18 April 1951 and entered into force on 24 July 1952. The Treaty expired on 23 July 2002, after fifty years, as was foreseen. The common market opened on 10 February 1953 for coal, iron ore and scrap and on 1 May 1953 for steel.

Partly, in the aim of creating a federal Europe two further communities were proposed, again by the French. A European Defence Community (EDC) and a European Political Community (EPC). While the treaty for the latter was being drawn up by the Common Assembly, the ECSC parliamentary chamber, the EDC was rejected by the French Parliament. President Jean Monnet, a leading figure behind the communities, resigned from the High Authority in protest and began work on alternative communities, based on economic integration rather than political integration.[1]

The Treaty of Rome signing ceremony, at the Palazzo dei Conservatori on Capitoline Hill

As a result of energy crises, the Common Assembly proposed extending the powers of the ECSC to cover other sources of energy. However Jean Monnet desired a separate community to cover nuclear power and Louis Armand was put in charge of a study into the prospects of nuclear energy use in Europe. The report concluded further nuclear development was needed to fill the deficit left by the exhaustion of coal deposits and to reduce dependence on oil producers. However the Benelux states and Germany were also keen on creating a general common market, although it was opposed by France due to its protectionism and Jean Monnet thought it too large and difficult a task. In the end, Monnet proposed creating both as separate communities, in an attempt to satisfy all interests.[2] As a result of the Messina Conference of 1955, Paul-Henri Spaak was appointed as chairman of a preparatory committee (Spaak Committee) charged with the preparation of a report on the creation of a common European market.

The Spaak Report[3] drawn up by the Spaak Committee provided the basis for further progress and was accepted at the Venice Conference (29 and 30 May 1956) where the decision was taken to organise an Intergovernmental Conference. The report formed the cornerstone of the Intergovernmental Conference on the Common Market and Euratom at Val Duchesse in 1956.

Signatories For
Paul-Henri Spaak · Jean Charles Snoy et d'Oppuers  Belgium
Konrad Adenauer · Walter Hallstein  West Germany
Christian Pineau · Maurice Faure  France
Antonio Segni · Gaetano Martino  Italy
Joseph Bech · Lambert Schaus  Luxembourg
Joseph Luns · J. Linthorst Homan  Netherlands

The outcome of the conference was that new communities would share the Common Assembly (now Parliamentary Assembly) with the ECSC, as it would with the Court of Justice. However they would not share the ECSC's Council of High Authority. The two new High Authorities would be called Commissions, this was due to a reduction in their powers. France was reluctant to agree to more supranational powers and hence the new Commissions would only have basic powers and important decisions would have to be approved by the Council, which now adopted majority voting.[4] The latter body fostered co-operation in the nuclear field, at the time a very popular area, and the EEC was to create a full customs union between members.[5][6]

The conference led to the signature, on 25 March 1957, of the Treaties of Rome at the Palazzo dei Conservatori on Capitoline Hill in Rome. In March 2007, the BBC's Today radio programme reported that delays in printing the treaty meant that the document signed by the European leaders as the Treaty of Rome consisted of blank pages between its frontispiece and page for the signatures.[7][8][9]


The Euratom treaty is less well known due to the lower profile of that organisation. While the EEC has evolved into what is now the European Union, Euratom has remained much the same and is governed by the same institutions as the EEC. It was established with independent institutions, but in 1967 the Merger Treaty merged the institutions of Euratom and the ECSC with those of the EEC. The Euratom treaty has seen very little amendment due to the later sensitivity surrounding nuclear power amongst the European electorate.

EEC/EC/EU Renamings

The EEC treaty's original full name was the Treaty establishing the European Economic Community, but in 1993 the Treaty of Maastricht changed the name of the EEC treaty to reflect the change of the EEC in becoming the European Community. Hence the treaty became the Treaty establishing the European Community (TEC).

When the Treaty of Lisbon came into force (1st of December 2009), the Community ceased to exist and was succeeded by the European Union, leading to the EC treaty being amended and renamed as the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU).[10]

50th anniversary

The 50th anniversary was celebrated in various ways, including events on Europe Day and throughout the year. Numerous commemorative coins were issued, including a special commemorative two euro which was issued with near identical designs by every (then-13) eurozone member (the first time every member had issued a coin together). Other non-circulation coins included the Belgian 10 euro 50th Anniversary of the Treaty of Rome commemorative coin.

See also

In force
Paris Agr.
Single 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) Treaty expired in 2002 European Union (EU)
    European Economic Community (EEC) European Community (EC)
      Justice & Home Affairs (JHA)
  Police & Judicial Co-operation in Criminal Matters (PJCC)
European Political Cooperation (EPC) Common Foreign & Security Policy (CFSP)
Unconsolidated bodies Western European Union (WEU)    


  1. ^ Raymond F. Mikesell, The Lessons of Benelux and the European Coal and Steel Community for the European Economic Community, The American Economic Review, Vol. 48, No. 2, Papers and Proceedings of the Seventieth Annual Meeting of the American Economic Association (May, 1958), pp. 428-441
  2. ^ 1957-1968 Successes and crises European NAvigator
  3. ^ Spaak report
  4. ^ Drafting of the Rome Treaties European NAvigator
  5. ^ A European Atomic Energy Community European NAvigator
  6. ^ A European Customs Union
  7. ^ What really happened when the Treaty of Rome was signed 50 years ago
  8. ^ EU landmark document was 'blank pages'
  9. ^ How divided Europe came together
  10. ^ "Presidency Conclusions Brussels European Council 21/22 June 2007" (PDF). Council of the European Union. 23 June 2007.  

External links



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