What is the Maastricht Treaty?

He Treaty of Maastricht Or Treaty on European Union (EU) was signed in Maastricht on 7 February 1992 by the leaders of 12 member countries and reflected the strong intentions of the signatory countries to create an economic and monetary union common [I] .

From the treaty, the EU would assume new responsibilities for implementing a foreign and security policy and for internal and judicial affairs, such as asylum, immigration, drugs and terrorism.

Treaty of Maastricht

Many European governments have considered it a commitment to move quickly towards full union. In contrast, Britain, which sought a more flexible agreement, opted not to adhere to the social chapter (in terms of workers' rights and remuneration), while the inhabitants of the other twelve countries became European citizens entitled to Live and work in any EU country.

This treaty unified the policies of defense, currency and citizenship of the member countries. The agreement entered into force on 1 November 1993 with the creation of the European Union and has since been amended by other treaties. The initial objective, to construct a common market, was surpassed, when the idea of ​​political unity was expressed.

Max Konstamm, father of the project

The founder of the European project, Max Konstamm, a Dutch historian and diplomat, once said: To judge by the slow historical development of the European Community, what was agreed in Maastricht was a giant step towards a more united Europe. But compared to the impressive challenges facing the Community, both in Europe and in the outside world, it may seem like a modest step for a more ambitious journey " [Ii] .

Kohnstamm, considered a pacifist at heart, was born in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, on 22 May 1914 and died on 20 October 2010. He was the last member of an extraordinary group of political visionaries known as the founding fathers of the European Union. In the 1950s it played an important role in the launching and development of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) and then the European Economic Communities.

His ambition for European integration was born of his traumatic experience during the Second World War. Max, whose family was Jewish, was imprisoned in a concentration camp in the Netherlands.

The inmates of that camp were regularly selected to be executed in retaliation for the actions of the Dutch resistance. After her release, Queen William of the Netherlands, knowing of brilliant intellect, hired him as his private secretary. During this period, Max met Jean Monnet, the charismatic French leader of the European integration movement who invited him to accompany him on a visit to Germany.

The destruction and impoverishment he saw convinced him that Europe must break the negative cycle generated by wars. Together they initiated the campaign called Plan Schuman (in honor of the French Minister of Foreign Affairs Robert Schuman), that led to the creation of the ECSC.

Kohnstamm was the first secretary of the ECSC between 1952 and 1956. In 1956, Monnet and Kohnstamm launched the Action Committee for the United States of Europe. Max was appointed Secretary General and Vice President until 1975.

What is the Maastricht Treaty? Max Kohnstamm-Photography: Philip-Jan Kohnstamm

Background to the Maastricht Treaty

The committee was based on a broad coalition of politicians, intellectuals, artists and young activists, who saw the creation of the common market as the first step towards an ever closer union of the States and peoples of Europe, according to the Founding Treaty of Rome In 1957 [Iii] .

The Treaties of Rome, signed on 25 March 1957, are two of the treaties which gave rise to the European Union. Both were signed by Germany, Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.

The first established the European Economic Community (EEC) and the second, the European Atomic Energy Community (EAEC or Euratom). Both treaties together with the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) subsequently gave rise to the European Communities. These were the first supranational international organizations that conformed the Constitutive treaties of the European Communities.

After being ratified by the parliaments of each state, they entered into force on January 1, 1958 and the EEC Treaty has been amended many times. From then on the name changed from Treaty Establishing the European Economic Community to Treaty Establishing the European Community and, finally, Treaty of Functioning of the Union. The signatories of the agreement were Paul-Henri Spaak, Antonio Segni and Konrad Adenauer, among others.

What is the Maastricht Treaty?  1 Ceremony of the signing of the treaty in Palazzo dei Conservatori - Capitoline Hill [iv]

Commissioning and ratification

The process of ratification of the treaty was arduous. The first referendum was held in Denmark (June 2, 1992) [V] . For lack of votes it could not be ratified. Uncertainty about the outcome of the Danish and French referendums, created doubts in the markets and the British pound left the foreign exchange market.

It was only ratified the following year (18 May 1993), after a second referendum held in Denmark, which gave it legal status on official approval. [saw]

Following the entry into force of the Treaty on European Union on 1 November 1993 during the Delors Commission [Vii] , The European Union materialized and the European single currency was created, the euro . The Treaty of Maastricht has been amended by the Amsterdam, Nice and Lisbon treaties.

Members' obligations included maintaining"sound fiscal policies, with debt limited to 60% of GDP and annual deficits not exceeding 3% of GDP" [Viii] .

Pillars of the European Union

The Treaty established three pillars of the European Union: a supranational pillar created by three European Communities (including the European Community (EC), the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Atomic Energy Community), the European Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and the Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) pillar.

The first pillar was where supranational EU institutions - the Commission, the European Parliament and the European Court of Justice - had more power and influence. The other two pillars were essentially intergovernmental, with decisions taken by committees composed of politicians and officials of member states [Ix] .

Since the early 1970s, foreign policy co-ordination was carried out under the name of European Political Cooperation (EPC), first inscribed in the Treaties by means of the Single European Act but not as part of the EEC. While the Justice and Home pillar expanded cooperation on law enforcement, criminal justice, asylum and immigration and judicial cooperation in civil matters, some of these areas were already subject to intergovernmental cooperation under the Schengen Implementing Convention 1990 [X] .

Post- Maastricht

The Maastricht Treaty represents a key stage in European integration. By establishing the European Union, by creating an economic and monetary union and by extending European integration to new areas, the Community has acquired a political dimension.

Aware of the progress of European integration, future enlargement and the need for institutional change, Member States introduced a revision clause in the Treaty. To this end, Article N established an Intergovernmental Conference to be held in 1996. This conference culminated in the signing of the Treaty of Amsterdam in 1997.

Amendments made to the treaty

The Treaty of Amsterdam (1997)

The Treaty of Amsterdam extended the powers of the Union by creating a Community employment policy, transferring to the Communities some of the areas formerly subject to intergovernmental cooperation in the fields of justice and home affairs to bring the Union closer to its citizens And to allow for closer cooperation between some Member States (enhanced cooperation).

It also extended the codecision procedure and qualified majority voting and simplified and re-numbered the articles of the Treaties.

The Treaty of Nice (2001)

The Treaty of Nice was essentially devoted to the"leftovers"of Amsterdam, ie the institutional problems associated with enlargement, which were not resolved in 1997.

It was about the composition of the Commission in the Council and the expansion of the areas of qualified majority voting. It simplifies the rules on the use of the enhanced cooperation procedure and makes the judicial system more effective.

The Treaty of Lisbon (2007)

The Treaty of Lisbon makes extensive reforms. It ends with the European Community, abolishes the old EU architecture and establishes a new allocation of powers between the EU and the Member States.

The way in which the European institutions operate and the decision-making process is also subject to change. The aim is to improve the way decisions are taken in an enlarged Union of 27 Member States. The Lisbon Treaty also reforms several of the EU's internal and external policies. In particular, it allows institutions to legislate and take action in new policy areas.

This Treaty has also been amended by the following accession treaties:

  • Treaty of Accession of Austria, Finland and Sweden (1994), which increased the number of Member States of the European Community to fifteen.
  • The Treaty of Accession of Cyprus, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Slovenia (2003) This Treaty increased the number of Member States of the European Community from 15 to 25.
  • Treaty of Accession of Bulgaria and Romania (2005). This Treaty increased the number of Member States of the European Community from 25 to 27.


[I] 1992: Maastricht treatiesmake EU official. Retrieved on 7/1/2017 on BBC news.bbc.co.uk.

[Ii] 1992: Maastricht treaties make EU official. Retrieved on 7/1/2017 at news.bbc.co.uk.

[Iii] Treaty of Rome. Retrieved on 7/1/2017 at en.wikipedia.org.

[Iv] Treaty of Rome. Retrieved on 7/1/2017 at en.wikipedia.org.

[V] Havemann, Joel (4 June 1992). EC Leaders at Sea Over Danish Rejection: Europe: Vote against Maastricht Treaty blocks the march to unity. Expansion plans may also be in jeopardy ."LA Times. Retrieved on 7/1/2017 at en.wikipedia.org.

[saw] Lov om Danmarks tiltrædelse af Edinburgh-Afgørelsen og Maastricht-Traktaten. Retsinformation. 9 June 1993. Retrieved on 7/1/2016 at en.wikipedia.org.

[Vii] The Delors Commission was the administration of the 8th President of the European Commission and the longest lasting president. Jaques Delors chaired the European Commission for three periods: 1985 - 1988, until 1992 and until 1994. His Commission is considered the most successful in advancing European integration. The third Commission was the first Commission of the European Union, the Treaty of Maastricht came into force in 1993. Retrieved on 7/1/2017 at en.wikipedia.org.

[Viii] Hubbard, Glenn and Tim Kane. (2013). Balance: The Economics of Great Powers From Ancient Rome to Modern America. Simon & Schuster. P. 204. ISBN 978-1-4767-0025-0.

[Ix] "Treaties and law" . European Union . Retrieved on 7/1/2017 at en.wikipedia.org.

[X] "The Schengen Agreement is a treaty that led to the creation of the European Schengen Area, where internal border controls have been largely eliminated. It was signed on 14 June 1985 near the city of Schengen in Luxembourg by five of the ten Member States of the then European Economic Community. It proposed measures to phase out border controls at the common borders of the signatories, including reduced speed controls allowing vehicles to cross borders without stopping, allowing residents in border areas to cross borders outside the border crossing points. Control and harmonize visa policies". Recovered 2l 7/1/2017 at en.wikipedia.org.

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