The Rome Agreement of 1957 was a major milestone in the formation of the European Economic Community (EEC), also known as the Common Market. Signed by France, West Germany, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg, the agreement aimed to promote economic cooperation and integration among these six countries.
The agreement was the result of several years of negotiations, which began in 1950 with the Schuman Declaration. This declaration, made by French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman, called for the creation of a European Coal and Steel Community to coordinate the production and distribution of these key resources among European countries.
The Rome Agreement built on this idea, expanding the scope of cooperation to include a wider range of economic activities. It established the EEC as a customs union, eliminating tariffs on goods traded among member countries and establishing a common external tariff on goods imported from outside the EEC. This helped to promote trade and economic growth within the region.
The agreement also created various institutions to oversee the EEC`s activities, including a Council of Ministers, a Commission, and a European Parliament. These institutions were designed to promote cooperation and decision-making among member countries, while also providing democratic oversight.
Over time, the EEC grew to include additional members, and its focus expanded beyond just economic cooperation to include a range of political and social initiatives. In 1993, the Maastricht Treaty transformed the EEC into the European Union (EU), which further integrated member countries and established a range of policies in areas such as foreign affairs, justice, and citizenship.
Today, the legacy of the Rome Agreement lives on in the EU and its member states, which continue to work together to promote economic growth, democratic governance, and a shared sense of European identity. While the challenges facing the region are many, the vision of a united, prosperous Europe remains as compelling today as it was in 1957.