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The External Relations of the European Union

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Edited By Pascaline Winand, Andrea Benvenuti and Max Guderzo

The book analyses the attitudes of non-EU countries towards European integration in historical and contemporary perspectives. The authors study a range of actors in Europe and beyond to explain the impact of the creation of the European Communities on the international system and how the EU is perceived in the world.
The book further shows the significance of the institutional interplay within the EU, and between EU institutions, member states and external actors led by their own internal dynamics to explain policy outcomes. It investigates to what extent the perceptions of the international community towards the European Communities and the EU have been influenced by the complexity of their decision-making and the difficulty of reconciling the views of member states on key external relations issues. The authors also study the interplay of non-EU countries and the EU within the broader context of international and regional institutions and forums for international cooperation.
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Australia, the “Messina Initiative” and the Establishment of the EEC, 1955-1958

Introduction

Extract



Dr Andrea BENVENUTI

University of New South Wales

In early June 1955 the foreign ministers of France, West Germany, Italy, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands (the so-called Six) met in the Sicilian town of Messina to discuss proposals for closer Western European integration. At the end of the three-day conference, they agreed to explore the possibility of creating an economic common market in the shape of a customs union and an atomic energy authority.1 In order to do so, the Six set up an intergovernmental committee under the chairmanship of Belgian foreign minister Paul-Henri Spaak. In April 1956 the committee produced a report calling for the creation of Euratom and a common market with common supranational institutions. The Six endorsed its recommendations at a conference in Venice in May 1956.2 Negotiations began in earnest in May 1956 and, on 25 March 1957, they culminated in the signing of the Rome treaties, which established both the European Economic Community (EEC) and the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom).3 Three years after the collapse of the European Defence Community (EDC), the process of European integration was back on track. Although this was not immediately apparent at the time, the emergence of an increasingly integrated core of continental nations was destined to reshape the political and economic landscape of Western Europe. Over time, it would also affect Western Europe’s relations with the outside world. ← 57 | 58 →

Australia was no exception and its relations with Western...

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