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European Union (EU): First Pillar-Community

The Pillars of Europe: The Legacy of the Maastricht Treaty After 25 Years

Council of the European Union

(Page 12-13) Council of the European Union

International Affairs Academy, Document of the Day

FIRST PILLAR: THE COMMUNITY This pillar resulted from the merger of the European Economic Community (EEC), the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), and the European Atomic Energy Community (EURATOM). The first pillar, the European Communities, provided a framework within which those powers for which sovereignty had been transferred by the Member States in the areas governed by the Treaty would be exercised by the Community institutions. Economic and monetary union (EMU) was launched under the first pillar. This culminated in the issuing of a single currency, the euro, on 1 January 2002. Community powers were extended in the areas of the environment, research, industry and cohesion policy. As regards law-making, the creation of the codecision procedure gave the European Parliament the power to adopt legal acts jointly with the Council. The assent and cooperation procedures were extended to new areas, as was qualified majority voting in the Council. The Court of Auditors, established in 1975, became the fifth European institution, and the Committee of the Regions was set up.

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