European Economic Union

March 27, 1957

Report Outline
New Impetus To Integration Of Europe
Plans for Euratom and Common Market
United States and Economic Union of Europe

New Impetus To Integration Of Europe

Favorable Outlook for Vast Free-Trade Project

A EUROPEAN ECONOMIC COALITION, forming a great tariff-free trading area for the manufactured products of a dozen continental countries and the United Kingdom, is coming rapidly into view across the Atlantic. The six nations which set up the pioneer European Coal and Steel Community four years ago—Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, West Germany—signed a treaty at Rome on Mar. 25 to establish a common market or customs union. Meanwhile, plans are under way to link Great Britain, the Scandinavian countries, Austria, Switzerland, and possibly others with the common-market group to make an over-all free trade area embracing a population of 240 million persons.

When the projected European Defense Community went down to defeat at the hands of the French National Assembly at the end of August 1954, the movement for European unification appeared to suffer a blow from which it would not soon recover. Yet the common market project, calling for supranational administration in a sector almost as vital as national defense, is already close to reality. The free trade area plan, while not involving a comparable surrender of sovereignty, is of equal economic significance, particularly because it proposes to make Great Britain an active associate in a scheme for European integration.

The anticipated benefits will not be realized in the immediate future or all at once. The convention or treaty on the free trade area probably will not be ready for signing until late this year. Both that treaty and the treaty on the common market will have to be approved by the parliaments of the signatory countries and may well encounter delay in the process of ratification. There is confidence, however, that they will survive. When put into effect, possibly sometime in 1958, the customs changes which they require will be made gradually; the goal of complete free trade will not be attained for at least 12 to 15 years.

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Regional Political Affairs: Europe