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Treaty of Rome (EEC)

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Treaty of Rome (EEC)

 

SUMMARY OF:

Treaty establishing the European Economic Community (EEC Treaty)

WHAT WAS THE AIM OF THE TREATY?

  • It set up the European Economic Community (EEC) which brought together 6 countries (Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands) to work towards integration and economic growth, through trade.
  • It created a common market based on the free movement of:
    • goods
    • people
    • services
    • capital.
  • It was signed in parallel with a second treaty which set up the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom).
  • The Treaty of Rome has been amended on a number of occasions, and today it is called the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

KEY POINTS

Aims

  • The aim of the EEC and the common market was to:
    • transform the conditions of trade and production on the territory of its 6 members and
    • serve as a step towards the closer political unification of Europe.

Specific goals

The signatories agreed to:

  • lay the foundations of an ‘ever closer union’ among the peoples of Europe
  • ensure the economic and social progress of their countries by joint action to eliminate trade and other barriers between them;
  • improve their citizens’ living and working conditions;
  • ensure balanced trade and fair competition;
  • reduce the economic and social differences between the EEC’s various regions;
  • gradually abolish restrictions on international trade through a common trade policy;
  • abide by the principles of the UN charter;
  • pool their resources to preserve and strengthen peace and liberty and call on other peoples of Europe who share this ideal to join them in these efforts.

Common market

The treaty:

  • establishes a common market, in which the signatory countries agree to gradually align their economic policies;
  • creates a single economic area with free competition between companies. It lays the basis for approximating the conditions governing trade in products and services over and above those already covered by the other treaties (European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) and Euratom);
  • broadly prohibits restrictive agreements and government subsidies which can affect trade between the 6 countries;
  • includes the 6 members’ overseas countries and territories in these arrangements and the customs union, to promote their economic and social development.

Customs union

  • The treaty abolished quotas (i.e. ceilings on imports) and customs duties between its 6 signatories.
  • It established a common external tariff on imports from outside the EEC, replacing the previous tariffs of the different states.
  • The customs union was accompanied by a common trade policy. This policy, managed at EEC level and no longer at national level, distinguishes the customs union from a mere free-trade association.

Joint policies

  • The treaty established certain policies from the start as joint policies among the member countries, including:
  • It allowed for the creation of other joint policies, should the need arise. After 1972, the EEC established joint action in the fields of environmental, regional, social and industrial policy.
  • These policies were accompanied by the creation of:

Institutions

FROM WHEN DID THE TREATY APPLY?

Signed on 25 March 1957, it applied from 1 January 1958.

BACKGROUND

For further information, see:

MAIN DOCUMENT

Treaty establishing the European Economic Community (not published in the Official Journal)

Successive amendments to the treaty have been incorporated into the basic text. This consolidated version is for reference only.

last update 14.03.2017

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