Wednesday, January 12, 2005

European Union Law - background II

As the European Community progressed, other nations expressed interest to join in. Article 237 of the EEC Treaty lay down the procedure for accession. In January 22, 1972, a treaty of Accession was signed in Brussels between the Community and the U.K., Denmark and Ireland, it became effective in January 1, 1973. Greece signed, in Athens, a Treaty of Accession, May 28, 1979, it took effect on January 1, 1981. At Lisbon, June 12,1985, Spain, Portugal became members of the European community, bringing membership to twelve countries.

Article 8a of the EEC Treaty promised that all technical, legal and fiscal barriers to trade between Member States would be eliminated by the end of 1992. To achieve that, the Single European Act (SEA) was signed and became effective in July 1, 1987. SEA focused its attention to achieve that goal.

Among other functions of the SEA was to take legislative actions in issues related to environment protection, employment health and safety, technological and regional development and the creation of Economic and Monetary Union in compliance with Article 102a of the SEA. It also broadened the functions of the Parliament.

In June 24, 1994 Austria, Finland and Sweden signed an Accession Treaty to join the Community, their membership entered into force in January 1, 1995.

The EEC Treaty was amended in 1986 by the Single European Act as we mentioned, it was amended also in 1993 by the Treaty on European Union (TEU or the Maastricht Treaty), after which it was known as the EC Treaty, and in 1997 by the Treaty of Amsterdam (ToA). In January 1, 1999 the single currency came into operation in the participating states.

As more nations applied for membership in the European Union, the Treaty of Nice (TN) was signed in February 2001, coming into force on February 1, 2003. The Treaty of Nice prepared the way for substantial further enlargement to take in ten more members, they include: Cyprus (Greek section), the Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia bringing the total to twenty-five states.

All the treaties mentioned above culminated in a Treaty establishing the Constituton For Europe. It was signed in Rome on October 2, 2004. The process of ratification is underway.

In the next chapter, I'll be writing about the nature of those agreements within the context of international law.

For further reading on the background of European Union, see the following books:

George A. Bermann, Cases and Materials on European Community Law. American Case Book Series;
European University Institute, Integration through Law, Europe and the American Federal Experience;
F. Snyder, New Directions in European Community Law (Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1990;
H. von der Groeben, The European Community: The Formative Years (EC Commission 1987).

Gabriel Sawma Esq.

Copyright 2005 by Gabriel Sawma - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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