The Intergovernmental Conference on the Common Market and Euratom
was held in Brussels
, it started on 26 June 1956
with a session in the Grand Salon of the Belgian Foreign Ministry. The negotiations went on at the Castle of the Valley of the Duchess
(Brussels) and would continue until March 1957. The conference was held to draft the Treaties establishing the European Economic Community
(EEC) and the European Atomic Energy Community
(EAEC or Euratom). The conference built on the results of the Spaak Report
of the Spaak Committee
and the decision taken at the Venice Conference
to prepare the plan for the establishment of a common market
and the establishment of a European Community for the peaceful use of atomic energy.
The conference was headed by Paul-Henri Spaak, Belgian Foreign Minister, the heads of the delegations from the six European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) were Lodovico Benvenuti (Italy), Baron Jean Charles Snoy et d'Oppuers (Belgium), Karl Friedrich Ophüls (Federal Republic of Germany), Maurice Faure (France), Johan Linthorst Homan (Netherlands) and Lambert Schaus (Luxembourg).
The common market
The basic principle of the common market was agreed upon by the six ECSC members, but there was wide disagreement about the procedures for its implementation. Both Germany
and the three BeNeLux
countries, with their export oriented economies, favoured economic liberalism
and wanted to reduce custom duties
in order to lower the barriers for trade
between the participating countries. On the other side stood France
, with their less competitive economies, who were primarily in favour of a mechanism for market
regulation and a certain amount of protection for external competition. France wanted some way to include its African
colonial in the forthcoming European common market. The participants of the conference could not reach a satisfactory agreement on a common agricultural policy
, but the outcome of the conference provided for improvement in productivity, self-sufficiency in food for the community and the establishment of an adequate income
The negotiations on Euratom
were complicated by the French opposition against any power of Euratom on the military use of nuclear power. This might hinder the acquisition of nuclear weapons
. France wanted to share the cost of the development of civil nuclear research with Euratom, which of course would free financial resources for its own military nuclear research. Although the other countries were reluctant to accept this stance, in the end they agreed to leave the military use of nuclear research out of the treaty, but made it subject to international controls. The USA
also opposed the emergence of an independent European nuclear force.
The Suez crisis of 1956, which exposed the vulnerability of Europe regarding its energy supplies had an influence on the negotiations.
The conference would lead to the Treaties of Rome being signed on 25 March 1957 which established the European Economic Community (EEC) and the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) among the members of the ECSC.
- Negotiations on the EEC and Euratom
- Treaty establishing the European Atomic Energy Community
- Raymond Bertrand, The European Common Market Proposal, International Organization, Vol. 10, No. 4 (Nov., 1956), pp. 559-574.
- Pierre-Henri Laurent, Paul-Henri Spaak and the Diplomatic Origins of the Common Market, 1955-1956, Political Science Quarterly, Vol. 85, No. 3 (Sep., 1970), pp. 373-396