The establishment and initial work of the European Parliamentary Assembly after the Rome Treaties

01-04-2019

The first Community assembly was the ‘Common Assembly’ provided for in the ECSC Treaty, and which operated as part of that Community from 1953 to 1958. The European Parliamentary Assembly was its historic and legal successor, but the establishment of the EEC and Euratom under the 1957 Rome Treaties meant that, as a single body serving the three Communities, it was no longer the seat of democratic representation for an organisation dealing with one sector, namely coal and steel, but of a system of Communities which embraced the entire range of productive activities and trade. In other words, the Community system was now dealing with the European economy as a whole, but there were still three Communities with three Treaties. Two of those Treaties were similar to each other but the third, the ECSC Treaty, was significantly different in terms of distribution of powers. The problem therefore arose of coordination between the three Communities, the solution to which was considerably assisted by the merger of the executive bodies nine years later. It is to the European Parliamentary Assembly’s credit that it immediately seized upon that issue and made it the subject of one of its first reports, which was drawn up and discussed over a relatively short time-scale, given that all Parliamentary proceedings on the matter were concluded within three months. This publication deals essentially with that report, setting it in the context of the broader debate on the nature and future of integration addressed at the sittings of the part-session of March 1958.

The first Community assembly was the ‘Common Assembly’ provided for in the ECSC Treaty, and which operated as part of that Community from 1953 to 1958. The European Parliamentary Assembly was its historic and legal successor, but the establishment of the EEC and Euratom under the 1957 Rome Treaties meant that, as a single body serving the three Communities, it was no longer the seat of democratic representation for an organisation dealing with one sector, namely coal and steel, but of a system of Communities which embraced the entire range of productive activities and trade. In other words, the Community system was now dealing with the European economy as a whole, but there were still three Communities with three Treaties. Two of those Treaties were similar to each other but the third, the ECSC Treaty, was significantly different in terms of distribution of powers. The problem therefore arose of coordination between the three Communities, the solution to which was considerably assisted by the merger of the executive bodies nine years later. It is to the European Parliamentary Assembly’s credit that it immediately seized upon that issue and made it the subject of one of its first reports, which was drawn up and discussed over a relatively short time-scale, given that all Parliamentary proceedings on the matter were concluded within three months. This publication deals essentially with that report, setting it in the context of the broader debate on the nature and future of integration addressed at the sittings of the part-session of March 1958.