Treaty of Maastricht

The Maastricht Treaty (formally, the Treaty on European Union, TEU) was signed on February 7, 1992 in Maastricht, the Netherlands after final negotiations on December 9, 1991 between the members of the European Community and entered into force on November 1, 1993 during the Delors Commission. It led to the creation of the European Union and was the result of separate negotiations on monetary union and on political union. The Maastricht Treaty has been amended to a degree by later treaties.

Content

A separate protocol linked to the treaty led to the creation of the euro, and introduced the Three pillars of the European Union (the European Communities pillar, the Common Foreign and Security Policy or CFSP pillar, and the Justice and Home Affairs pillar). The CFSP pillar was built on the foundation of European Political Cooperation (EPC), but brought it under a treaty and extended it. The JHA pillar introduced cooperation in law enforcement, criminal justice, civil judicial matters, and asylum and immigration. Originally, the European Community (EC) dealt mainly with economic, social and trade matters. The European Commission and the European Court of Justice, both operationally independent from the national governments, although appointed by them, had a lot of power within the system. The European Parliament, which was directly elected by the citizens of the EC member states, also had some power. The Governments retained the most power in the Council of Ministers, but since the mid-1980s had increasingly been taking decisions through qualified majority votes (about 71% of the votes). This system was called the Community method, or supranationalism, as institutions not directly controlled by the governments wielded significant power, and members could have decisions they disagreed with imposed upon them through majority votes.

It was desired to add competencies in foreign policy, military and criminal matters to the European Community. However, many member states considered that these areas were too sensitive to be managed by the mechanisms of the European Community, and that the power of governments in relation to these areas had to be stronger than the powers of governments in the European Community. That is, an intergovernmental, as opposed to supranational, system would have to be used. Other member states feared that this might threaten the power of the independent supranational institutions (the European Commission, European Court of Justice and European Parliament) in relation to the economic matters then dealt with by the European Community. The three pillar structure was then developed to isolate the traditional Community responsibilities in the area of the economy (the Community Pillar) from the new competencies in the areas of foreign policy and military matters (the CFSP pillar) and criminal matters (the JHA pillar). The Maastricht treaty created also the position of the Ombudsman.

Ratification

The process of ratifying the treaty was fraught with difficulties in three states. Denmark first rejected the treaty on 2 June 1992 by less than 50,000 votes. This sparked a referendum in France which only narrowly supported it, with 51.05% in favour. The treaty was ratified by Denmark on 18 May 1993 with the addition of the Edinburgh Agreement which lists four Danish exceptions. In the United Kingdom, an opt-out from the treaty's social provisions was opposed in Parliament by the opposition Labour and Liberal Democrat MPs and the treaty itself by the Maastricht Rebels within the governing Conservative Party. The number of rebels exceeded the Conservative majority in the House of Commons, and thus the government of John Major came close to losing the confidence of the House.

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Timeline of the Treaties and EU Constitution

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  • 457 - Leo I becomes emperor of the Byzantine Empire.

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(Dutch) Maastricht
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"Je maintiendrai"   (French)
"Ik zal handhaven"   (Dutch)
"I shall stand fast"1

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Euro
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pillars.

The three pillars

  1. The first or 'Community' pillar concerns economic, social and environmental policies.
  2. The second or 'Common Foreign and Security Policy' (CFSP) pillar concerns foreign policy and military matters.

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The Common Foreign and Security Policy, or CFSP, was established as the second of the three pillars of the European Union in the Maastricht treaty of 1992, and further defined and broadened in the Amsterdam Treaty of 1999. It superseded the European Political Cooperation.
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The European Political Cooperation (EPC) was introduced in 1970 and was the synonym for EU foreign policy until it was superseded by the Common Foreign and Security Policy in the Maastricht Treaty (November 1993).
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Supranationalism is a method of decision-making in political communities, wherein power is held by independent appointed officials or by representatives elected by the legislatures or people of the member states.
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European Commission (formally the Commission of the European Communities) is the executive branch of the European Union. It operates in the method of cabinet government, with 27 "Commissioners", one for each country of the EU, led by a Commission President (currently José
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Court of Justice of the European Communities, usually called the European Court of Justice (ECJ), is the highest court in the European Union (EU). It has the ultimate say on matters of EU law in order to ensure equal application across the various European Union member
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(Royal motto: Guds hjælp, Folkets kærlighed, Danmarks styrke
"The Help of God, the Love of the People, the Strength of Denmark" )
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referendum (plural referendums or referenda), ballot question, or plebiscite (from Latin plebiscita, originally a decree of the Concilium Plebis
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The Danish Maastricht Treaty referendum of 1993 was a referendum on whether Denmark should ratify the Maastricht Treaty which had already been rejected by the Danish people in a 1992 referendum. The referendum took place on May 18, 1993, with 56.
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