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EC Law - problems and history

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With many historical events it is sometimes difficult to establish the moment when an event occurred.  The original Treaty was not the commencement of the Community.  

Similarly who was responsible?


Schuman & Sforza

The architects of the Community were many, to some a dream, to some, for example Schuman and Sforza concrete action lead to the Treaty. 


Political harmony/integration are taken to mean the role of governmental power.


Early Attempts at integration.

In 1920 General Tukhacheveski in an order to his armies is quoted as encouraging the Red Army to drive "through the heart of Poland to the conquest of Europe and world conflagration".


The Roman Emperors

The Roman Emperors and Napoleon had attempted unification of Europe before him.


Adolf Hitler

Other leaders have held dear the notion of a unified Europe, or a Europe dominated by one nation state.  


The most recent being Adolf Hitler.   His dream was a millennium of German domination.


Modern history.


It was the devastation wreaked upon Europe during the second world war that can be realistically seen as a starting point for the EEC.  


The futility of attempts at conquest and the need for interdependence of nation states saw the introduction of the first Community and world organisations.


European Steel and Coal Community

The European Steel and Coal Community, the IMF and the World Bank, the Havana Charter that lead to the General Agreement and Tariffs and Trade (GATT), the UN Economic Commission for Europe. Later the Benelux Union.


Marshall Plan and the Council of Europe

Two other events were even more focused on the concept of integrated Europe, the Marshall Plan and the Council of Europe. All were intended to prevent ‘political’ struggles between nation states, and war.

Each of these organisations firmed the ground for the eventual European Economic Community, but those responsible for each could not have been said to be the original architect of the Community.


There is no preceding world model

Napoleon quipped that ‘a constitution ought to be brief but ambiguous’, De Gaulle spoke of Europe of States, Pompidou about a confederation    Thatcher about anti-federalism. 


The European Treaty of Maastricht unclear stating that the Union shall respect the national identifies of its Member States’, vaguely identifying a ‘Europe of States’.


There is no preceding world model.


The Treaties.

The Treaty of Rome 1957 (now the TEU)

The political unification of Europe appeared premature in post-war days.


The architects of the Community identified basic economic elements of inter-state relations and constructed them into the three communities (Coal and Steel, Euratom and EEC) - The Treaty of Rome 1957 (now the TEU).


The objectives of the European Economic Community

The objectives of the European Economic Community (EEC) are wider than the objectives of the first two communities. 


The EEC is not a mere specialist organisation but an instrument of progressive economic integration with a corresponding political potential.  This suggests that the EEC is by far the most important and may be regarded as a prototype of an integrated European Community.

The idealism of the founder members was tempered by economic practicalities.

The preamble to the EEC Treaty states that its signatories were ‘Determined to lay the foundations of ever closer union among the peoples of Europe’. Resolved by thus pooling their resources to preserve and strengthen peace and liberty’. 

It would be pleasing for those signatories to note that the Court of Justice has never lost sight of these aims when interpreting the Treaty and legislation following it.  


This is much to the annoyance of, among others, Bill Cash the leading European sceptic who believes the Court pays too much attention to the preambles of the Treaties.


Political harmony and political integration?

The preamble and the structure of the Treaty can be fruitlessly scoured for reference to political harmony and political integration. 


Notwithstanding, the thrust of the preamble, the Treaty and the protocols all have as a leitmotiv; political harmony.


Role of EU

European Arrest Warrant (EAW).

The founding fathers had peace on their minds, later politicians saw the advancement of a trading block, and until recently the EU could be seen as creating a "level playing field" in respect of trade and workers rights (Pillars One and Two).

Under the Third Pillar EU states cooperate in criminal matters such as drug trafficking, terrorism, human trafficking, racism and others.

In 2004 the EU's active role in criminal law saw the introduction of the European Arrest Warrant (EAW).


From 1.1.04:
Lengthy extradition procedures have given way to the long awaited European Arrest Warrant (EAW) for serious crimes, including terrorism throughout the European Union. The EAW replaces court decisions in the country where the person has been found, perhaps followed by appeals, sometimes lasting years.

The EAW removes the risk of refusal by courts, which do not always recognise the legal proceedings. The final decision, which until now has been made by a politician, has been removed.

An European arrest warrant may be issued by a national court for an offence carrying at least one year in prison or where the person sought has been sentenced to at least four months.

Details here (pdf file)



Subsidiarity has been a device together with margins of appreciation to allow a real or pretence political role to remain with the nation states. The issue of power in Europe is a continuing thorn in the side of politicians.  

The power of the High Authority of the ECSC was soon removed to the Council and the Council of Ministers. 

The issue of majority voting, the power of the ECJ and the Commission continue to be raised as threats to sovereignty.

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