On 2 May 1956, a locomotive carrying the flags of the six Member States of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) and pulling wagons loaded with coal crosses the Franco-Luxembourg border to mark the opening of the common market for coal and iron ore.
In this contribution, written 30 years after the Dassonville judgment, the lawyer Vassilis Hatzopoulos, Assistant Professor at the Democritus University of Thrace and Visiting Professor at the College of Europe in Bruges, reviews the developments in the case-law of the Court of Justice of the European Communities relating to the free movement of goods, services, capital and persons.
In this note drawn up for the Belgian Commission for the Study of Post-war Problems (CEPAG), Fernand Van Langenhove, Secretary-General of the Belgian Foreign Ministry, analyses the conditions required for the conclusion and the operation of a Netherlands–Belgium Customs Union.
On 10 January 1945, following the harsh winter of 1944–1945, the Standing Technical Subcommittee on Welfare for Europe adopts a resolution calling on the UNRRA authorities to dispatch emergency aid to the liberated countries in Europe.
On 1 March 1946, the Christian-Democratic Union (CDU) in the British occupation zone issues a manifesto which sets out in detail the appeal made on 26 June 1945 and which will itself be supplemented at a later date.
On 11 May 1946, in Hanover, the German Social Democratic Party (SPD), led by Kurt Schumacher, publishes its political manifesto in which there is no mention of the merger that took place 20 days previously in the Soviet occupation zone between the SPD and the German Communist Party (KPD) to create the German Socialist Unity Party (SED), dominated by the Communists.
On 10 June 1947, the European Coal Organisation publishes a report on the situation of the coalfields in Europe and proposes measures to alleviate manpower shortages and to improve the outdated methods of coal production and distribution.
In an article published on 16 August 1947, the Luxembourg daily newspaper Luxemburger Wort reviews the French proposal for the establishment of a European Customs Union in order to resolve some of Europe’s economic problems.
On 23 August 1947, the French weekly publication Une semaine dans le monde publishes an article by René Courtin, General Delegate of the French Council for a United Europe, in which he considers the issues surrounding the proposed European customs union and outlines the numerous difficulties involved in such an undertaking.
In a report presented to the Franco–Belgian section of the Inter-Parliamentary Union on 1 November 1947, the Belgian MP, Raymond Scheyven, calls for a customs and economic union between France and Benelux.
On 1 January 1948, the customs convention concluded between Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg - known collectively as Benelux - entered into force. The Luxembourg newspaper Tageblatt comments on the event.
On 22 January 1948, addressing the House of Commons, the British Foreign Secretary, Ernest Bevin, condemns the Soviet Union’s political ambitions and calls for greater unity amongst the countries of Western Europe.
On 3 February 1948, two months after the entry into force of the customs convention concluded between Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg (Benelux), the German daily newspaper Frankfurter Rundschau speculates on the chances of success of a possible Scandinavian customs union between Denmark, Norway and Sweden.
In March 1948, the Study Group for Customs Union, established in Paris in September 1947, publishes its first report on the possibilities and the implications of the establishment of a customs union in Europe.
During the final session of the Congress of Europe held in The Hague in May 1948, some 800 participants adopt the basic text, Message to Europeans, drawn up by the Swiss federalist, Denis de Rougemont.
On 18 January 1950, in an address to the Foreign Press Association in Rotterdam, Dirk Stikker, Netherlands Foreign Minister, states that the Netherlands is keen to work towards European integration, and calls on the press to support this effort to establish closer relations between European countries.
On 12 April 1950, Robert M. Hanes, Chief of the Economic Cooperation Administration’s mission for the distribution of funds provided under the Marshall Plan for West Germany, calls on the countries of Western Europe to increase their economic integration in order to create a single market in Europe.
On 26 November 1951, the Liberal Belgian Delegate, Roger Motz, President of the Belgian Committee at the European League for Economic Cooperation (ELEC), submits a report to the Consultative Assembly of the Council of Europe on the establishment of a customs union between all the Member States of the Council and the setting up of a ‘Low-Tariff Club'.
On 6 December 1951, the Consultative Assembly of the Council of Europe analyses the report submitted on 26 November 1951 by the Liberal Belgian Delegate, Roger Motz, President of the Belgian Committee at the European League for Economic Cooperation (ELEC), on the establishment of a European Customs Union and the setting up of a ‘Low-Tariff Club'.
On 10 August 1952, the day on which the High Authority of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) takes up its duties in Luxembourg, Fernand Baudhuin, Professor of Economics at the Catholic University of Louvain, attempts to evaluate, in the columns of the Belgian daily newspaper La Libre Belgique, the consequences of Community policy for the coal and steel industry in Belgium.
On 4 December 1952, the French daily newspaper Le Monde highlights the implications of the introduction of the first European tax, planned for 1 January 1953, by the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC).
One month before the common market for coal and iron ore entered into force on 10 February 1953, the West German newspaper Die Freiheit considers the dangers that might harm the economy of the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG).
On 10 February 1953, the German daily newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung outlines the issues arising from the establishment of a common European market in coal, paying particular attention to the issue of prices.
On 10 February 1953, the German daily newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung considers the implementation of the common market for coal and iron ore in the six Member States of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC).
On 10 February 1953, the first trainload of German coal crosses the French frontier without having to pay the traditional customs duties. This event marks the opening of the transitional period prior to the establishment of a common market in coal and steel and is welcomed in a statement made by Jean Monnet, President of the ECSC.
On 30 April 1953, the inauguration ceremony for the common market in steel is held at the Belval plant in Esch-sur-Alzette, Luxembourg. The photo shows Jean Monnet (wearing a hat) surrounded by the Members of the High Authority of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC). On Jean Monnet’s right is Albert Coppé, second Vice-President of the ECSC High Authority. At the microphone, Franz Etzel, first Vice-President of the ECSC High Authority, addresses the gathering.
On 30 April 1953, on the eve of the official opening of the common market in steel, Jean Monnet, President of the High Authority of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), holds a press conference in Luxembourg City. At the press conference, he is flanked by Franz Etzel (left), Vice-President of the High Authority, and by the Netherlands representative, Dirk Spierenburg (right).
On 30 April 1953, on the eve of the opening of the common market for steel, Jean Monnet, President of the High Authority of the ECSC, expresses his satisfaction with the existence of a large European market of 150 million consumers.
On 1 May 1953, the day on which the common market for steel enters into force, the German daily newspaper Die Welt reviews the fiscal disparities existing between the Member States of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC).
In this summary report, Tony Rollman, Director of the Market Division of the ECSC High Authority, gives a summary of the production and of the prices for metallurgical products in the six Member States for the period 1952–1953.
In November 1953, cartoonist Bouwens illustrates the consequences for France of the immediate application of the draft plan for economic integration in Europe devised by the Scientific Consultative Committee at the West German Foreign Ministry.
As of 1 January 1953, a general levy is introduced for the six ECSC countries. As a result of this tax on coal and steel output, the High Authority possesses its own resources and no longer depends on government subsidies.
The Brussels Treaty of 17 March 1948, modified and completed by the protocols signed in Paris on 23 October 1954 which enter into force on 6 May 1955. The Federal Republic of Germany and Italy accede to the modified Treaty. The ‘Consultative Council’ becomes the ‘Council of Western European Union’ (Article VIII), and the organisation established by the Treaty is renamed ‘Western European Union’ (WEU).
In May 1955, in its report on the state of economic integration in Western Europe, the Council of Europe analyses the policies pursued within the transport sector in order to encourage the integration process in that sector.
On 26 January 1956, the customs experts in the Spaak Committee examine the issues surrounding the elimination of customs duties in the Common Market and the arrangements for the establishment of a single tariff in relations with third countries.
On 9 February 1956, in an interview with RTL journalist Robert Diligent, the Belgian, Jean Rey, President-in-Office of the Special Council of Ministers of the ECSC, gives a positive progress report on the first three years of existence of the common market in coal and steel.
On 18 March 1956, the French daily newspaper Le Monde comments on the work carried out by the Intergovernmental Committee established by the Messina Conference on the proposal for a European customs union and its implications for France.
On 1 January 1957, the Italian daily newspaper Il nuovo Corriere della Sera describes the efforts of the six Member States of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) to establish a Common Market and a European customs union.
In February 1957, the British Government forwards a memorandum to the Organisation for European Economic Cooperation (OEEC) in Paris in which it sets out its views on the establishment of a European Free Trade Area.
On 22 February 1957, the East German newspaper Neues Deutschland comments on the meeting in Paris attended by the Heads of State or Government and the Foreign Ministers of the six countries participating in the Intergovernmental Conference on the Common Market and Euratom and calls on the European nations to fight against the establishment of the European Economic Community (EEC).
In April 1958, at the end of the transitional period, the ECSC Common Assembly publishes a report entitled The application of the Treaty establishing the ECSC during the transitional period in which it outlines the difficulties arising from the integration of Belgian coal into a European common market.
On 13 January 1959, in Strasbourg, Walter Hallstein, President of the Commission of the European Economic Community (EEC), outlines to the European Parliamentary Assembly the economic differences between the Common Market and the future European Free Trade Association (EFTA).
On 19 January 1962, in an article published in the French daily newspaper Le Monde, European expert Pierre Uri analyses the significance of the common external tariff in the negotiations for the United Kingdom’s possible accession to the European Communities.
On 30 January 1962, the Department for Economic Cooperation at the French Foreign Ministry considers the impact and the progress of present and future tariff negotiations between the EEC and the United States.
On 17 November 1964, the French daily newspaper Le Monde describes the difficult nature of the negotiations taking place between the six Member States of the European Economic Community and their international partners during the ‘Kennedy Round’ on further reductions in international tariff barriers.
On 11 February 1965, the Brussels daily newspaper Le Soir considers the impact of the proposals put forward by General de Gaulle, President of France, to reform the international monetary system, with particular regard to the possible introduction by the Six of a European currency.
On 1 July 1968, in its comments on the completion of the tariff union through the abolition of the last remaining customs duties between the Six at the end of the transitional period, the French daily newspaper Le Monde describes the impact of the Customs Union on international and intra-Community trade.
In 1972, in the run-up to the referendum on Ireland’s accession to the European Communities, to be held on 10 May, the Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union publishes a note in which it opposes Irish accession to the Communities.
In the Rutili judgment, the Court of Justice provides a strict interpretation of the public policy reservation which may possibly restrict the free movement of workers in the Member States. As an exception to a fundamental principle of Community law, its application must comply with all Community rules. Accordingly, any measures which may be taken by a Member State must be based exclusively on the personal conduct of the individual posing a genuine and sufficiently serious threat, and must apply indiscriminately to nationals of the Member State and to other Community nationals.
On 26 November 1987, Leo Tindemans, Belgian Foreign Minister from 1981 to 1988, delivers an address to the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Antwerp on the establishment of the single internal market in Europe.
On 4 March 1988, in Caya, Badajoz, Manuel Marín, Abel Matutes and António Cardoso e Cunha, Members of the European Commission, take part in a symbolic ceremony to mark the abolition of customs checks at the border between Spain and Portugal.
On 9 November 1988, at a seminar on Jean Monnet in Copenhagen, Martin Bangemann, German Minister for the Economy, gives an address on the economic repercussions and political prospects of the introduction of a European internal market.
On 22 June 1989, during the international conference organised in Cologne by the Junior Chamber International, Rudolf Seiters, Head of the German Federal Chancellery, gives a speech on the role of the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) in the completion of the European Internal Market.
On 20 June 1990, the daily newspaper Luxemburger Wort outlines the provisions of the Additional Protocol to the Agreement of 14 June 1985 which was signed on 19 June, in Schengen, by the representatives of Belgium, France, the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG), Luxembourg and the Netherlands.
In 1995, in an article published in the journal Affari Esteri, Giuseppe Scognamiglio, Italian Consul in Izmir, emphasises Italy’s determination to strengthen its economic contacts with Turkey in the run-up to the entry into force of the Customs Union between Turkey and the European Economic Community (EEC), due to take place on 1 January 1996.
On 27 March 1995, the British daily newspaper The Guardian comments on the entry into force of the Schengen Convention of 19 June 1990 in Belgium, France, the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG), Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain.
In March 2001, Andrew Duff, Member of the European Parliament and spokesman on constitutional affairs for the Group of the European Liberal, Democrat and Reform Party (ELDR), criticises the work of the 2000 Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) and highlights the need for a new method in order to make better preparations for a new Constitutional Treaty.
According to the Court of Justice, in its judgment of 9 September 2003, in Case C-151/02, Jaeger, the Directive concerning certain aspects of the organisation of working time must be interpreted as meaning that on-call duty performed by a doctor where he is required to be physically present in the hospital must be regarded as constituting in its totality working time for the purposes of that Directive even where the person concerned is permitted to rest at his place of work during the periods when his services are not required, with the result that that Directive precludes legislation of a Member State which classifies as rest periods an employee’s periods of inactivity in the context of such on-call duty.
On 4 April 2005 in London, John Monks, Secretary-General of the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), emphasises the need for a Constitution for Europe and reaffirms the ETUC’s support for the Constitutional Treaty.
In this interview, Georges Berthoin, Principal Private Secretary (from 1952 to 1956) to Jean Monnet and then to René Mayer during their respective Presidencies of the High Authority of the European Coal and Steel Community, discusses the establishment of the first European tax in December 1952 and the implementation of the common market for coal and steel in Europe from 1953.
On 2 September 2005, in response to the meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the Twenty-Five held on 1 and 2 September in Newport, Wales, in order to discuss whether or not to retain the date of 3 October for the opening of negotiations for accession to the European Union with Turkey and to clarify how they will be conducted, Günter Verheugen, appointed Vice-President of the European Commission presided since 2004 by José Manuel Barroso after having had special responsibility for Enlargement and, subsequently, for European Neighbourhood Policy in the Commission presided by Romano Prodi from 1999 to 2004, grants an interview to the French daily newspaper Le Monde in which he supports Turkey’s application for accession to the European Union.
In this interview, Bino Olivi, former official in the Directorate-General for Competition Policy of the Commission of the European Economic Community (EEC), refers to the reasons behind the acceleration in the establishment of a customs union and considers the scale of economic growth in Italy and in the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG).
In this interview, Edmund Wellenstein, who served as Director-General for European Affairs in the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 1950 to 1952 then senior official at the High Authority of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) until 1967, describes the circumstances surrounding his arrival at the ECSC and the nature of his first activities on the High Authority’s committee for liaison with the United Kingdom and the ECSC Consultative Committee in connection with the establishment of the common market in coal and steel.
In this interview excerpt, Philippe de Schoutheete, Belgian Permanent Representative to the European Union from 1987 to 1997, discusses the early difficulties encountered in the implementation of the single market, despite the fact that it was underpinned by genuine political will.