The European Community
The European Community (EC) or the European Union (EU) is the collective designation of the following three European organizations that have common membership:
1. The European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC)
2. The European Economic Community (EEC) and
3. The European Atomic Energy Community (EAEC).
Currently the European Community comprises of 15 nations - Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and United Kingdom.
Historical Development of EC: The genesis of the idea of European Community can be traced back to the post second world war years when after the great hole cost, the European nations felt concerned about their shattered economies and collective security. Leading European statesmen expressed it openly that a United Europe was the only way for tackling the economic and defense problems of the European nations. Sir Winston Churchill the British Prime Minister on March 5, 1946 suggested that the safety of the world requires a new unity in Europe from which no nation should be permanently outcast. Surely we should work with a conscious purpose for a grand unification of Europe within the structure of the United Nations. Later on Chancellor Adenauer of West Germany too pointed out that economic unity offered the most solid and resistant basis of political unity. The emergence of Soviet Union as a super power and the mounting danger of territorial expansion of USSR threatened the European democracies. It was under these circumstances that George Marshall, Secretary of State of US in June 1947 propounded the Marshall plan which aimed at saving western Europe from the growing influence of communism, by giving economic assistance to European States. Through Marshall Plan USA channelised billions of dollars to the nations of Europe to revitalize their economy.
The European Coal Steel Community (Schuman Plan): French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman, in May 1950 proposed a European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC). The main purpose of Schuman Plan was to create a single market for coal and steel for all European nations who were willing to join it. As a result of long negotiations the six countries namely Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands and West Germany on April 18, 1951, signed convention, which was ratified in 1952. The ESCS went into operation in 1953. It consisted of a High Authority (assisted by a consultative committee), a Common Assembly, a special council and a court of justice. The High Authority consisting of nine members could take decisions, make recommendations, make levies on enterprises, control production, impose fine and regulate investment. The consultative committee attached to the High Authority consisted of 30 to 51 members. It advised the High Authority when it was called upon to do so. The Parliamentary Assembly comprised of 78 representatives of which Germany, France and Italy...