This Day in the Law
March 25

European Economic Community Established (1957)

On March 25, 1957, the European Economic Community (EEC) was established, creating economic integration between Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. The EEC was the precursor of the European Union.

The EEC was established after a long period of research and debate on the dynamics of economic and political situations in Europe. In 1956, Paul Henri Spaak, Belgian politician, led the Intergovernmental Conference on the Common Market and Euratom, where the economic and political situations in Europe were discussed. The conference led to the signature, on March 25, 1957, of the Treaty of Rome, establishing the European Economic Community.

The EEC was meant to create a customs union between its six member countries. One of the first important accomplishments of the EEC was the establishment of common price levels for agricultural products. In 1968, internal tariffs (tariffs on trade between member nations) were removed on certain products.

In the 1960s, the EEC expanded to include Denmark, Ireland, Norway and the United Kingdom. In the 1970s and ‘80s, Greece, Spain, and Portugal also applied for membership. Due to the increasing interest from European countries, a new agreement was signed in 1991. This agreement established the European Union. The EEC was subsequently absorbed into the EU.