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Treaty on the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom)

Treaty on the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom)

 

SUMMARY OF:

Treaty on the European Atomic Energy Community

WHAT IS THE AIM OF THE TREATY?

As is clear from the wording of its Title II, the aim of the Euratom Treaty is to ‘encourage progress in the field of nuclear energy’.

In particular, the objective is, within a common nuclear energy market:

  • to promote research;
  • to achieve security of supply for all EU countries;
  • to establish a system for supervising the peaceful use of nuclear materials intended for civilian use and ensuring high common standards for health and safety.

KEY POINTS

Scope

The treaty is strictly limited to civilian (not military) uses of nuclear energy.

Structure of the treaty

Title I sets out 8 tasks entrusted to Euratom which Title II elaborates on with specific rules:

  • promote research, cooperation in research and exchange of technical information — a Joint Research Centre is established;
  • establish uniform safety standards to protect the health of workers and of the general public and ensure that they are applied;
  • facilitate investment and ensure, particularly by encouraging joint ventures, the establishment of the basic installations necessary for the development of nuclear energy;
  • ensure through a common supply policy that all users in the Community (now the EU) receive a regular and equitable supply of ores and nuclear fuels — a Euratom Supply Agency is established;
  • control the appropriate (in particular, non-military) and peaceful use of nuclear materials — Euratom safeguards are ensured by dedicated inspectors, who carry out physical and accounting checks in all nuclear installations in the Community;
  • exercise a right of ownership of some special fissile materials (fissile materials are composed of atoms that can be split by neutrons in a self-sustaining chain-reaction to release enormous amounts of energy);
  • create a common market in specialised materials and equipment, with free movement of capital for investment in the field of nuclear energy and freedom of employment for specialists;
  • establish with other countries and international organisations such relations as will foster progress in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

Titles III and IV concern institutions and finances:

  • Euratom shares the same executive bodies with the EU since the Merger Treaty (1967). It already shared some common institutions
  • The sharing of powers given to the institutions in the Euratom Treaty differ from those of the EEC bodies (now the EU bodies acting within the scope of the EU). The Parliament in particular has less control over Euratom, with only consultation powers (no co-decision).
  • The Euratom Supply Agency, a specific Euratom body, has legal personality and financial autonomy and is under the supervision of the Commission.
  • Since the Merger Treaty, Euratom also shares a single administrative budget with the EU institutions. The R&D expenditures under the Euratom Treaty are however kept under a separate budget.

The fifth and sixth titles deal respectively with general rules and rules relating to the initial period (setting up the institutions, initial application rules and transitional rules).

The treaty also includes five annexes dealing with:

  • the fields of research concerning nuclear energy referred to in Article 4 of the treaty;
  • the industrial activities referred to in Article 41 of the treaty;
  • the advantages which may be given to joint undertakings under Article 48 of the treaty;
  • a list of goods and products subject to the provisions of Chapter 9 on the nuclear common market; and
  • the initial research and training programme referred to in Article 215 of the treaty (article 215 was repealed in the current version of the treaty).

FROM WHEN DOES THE TREATY APPLY?

Signed on 25 March 1957, the treaty entered into force on 1st January 1958.

BACKGROUND

The Treaty on the European Atomic Energy Community (EAEC, better known as ‘Euratom’) was signed in Rome in 1957, alongside the treaty establishing the European Economic Community (EEC), by the six founding countries of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC). The EEC and EAEC treaties are sometimes referred to as the ‘Treaties of Rome’, while the ‘Treaty of Rome’ designates the EEC Treaty.

Unlike the EEC Treaty, no major changes have ever been made to the Euratom Treaty, which remains in force. In particular, Euratom has not merged with the European Union and therefore retains a separate legal personality, although it has the same membership.

Alongside the Treaty on European Union (TEU) and the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU (TFEU), the Euratom Treaty forms part of the primary law of the EU as one of its active treaties.

For further information, see:

MAIN DOCUMENT

Treaty on the European Atomic Energy Community, of 25 March 1957 — consolidated version (OJ C 203, 7.6.2016, pp. 1-112)

RELATED DOCUMENTS

Treaty establishing the European Atomic Energy Community of 25 March 1957 (not published in the Official Journal)

Merger Treaty of 8 April 1965 (OJ 152, 13.7.1967, p. 2-17 (DE, FR, IT, NL))

Treaty of Maastricht of 7 February 1992 (OJ C 191, 29.7.1992, pp. 1-112)

Treaty of Lisbon, of 13 December 2007 (OJ C 306, 17.12.2007, pp. 1-271)

last update 25.05.2018

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