Common Market: Start of a New Decade

February 8, 1967

Report Outline
Questions Confronting Common Market
Difficulties During the First Ten Years
Common Market Outlook Over Next Decade

Questions Confronting Common Market

Tenth Birthday of European Economic Community

The tenth anniversary of the founding of the European Economic Community, better known as the Common Market, is to be marked by a meeting of officials of the six member countries on March 25 in Rome, where the treaty creating the organization was signed in 1957. The gathering, suggested by the Italian government early in January, will be purely ceremonial, but it is altogether likely that the representatives of Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands will not let slip the opportunity to discuss questions facing the Common Market at the opening of its second decade.

Among those questions is the renewal of Great Britain's efforts to gain entry to the group. Prime Minister Harold Wilson announced Nov. 10, 1966, that it was his nation's “clear intent and determination” to become a member of the E.E.C., and in January and the first part of February he journeyed to the capitals of the six countries to take soundings. French President de Gaulle, who vetoed Britain's first application in 1963, remains cool to British entry notwithstanding Wilson's stated willingness to accept the provisions of the Treaty of Rome and all subsequent Community decisions.

Also of current concern to E.E.C.—as well as to the United States and other trading nations of the free world—is the Kennedy Round of tariff negotiations now going on at Geneva. The results of those negotiations are expected to set the pattern for economic relationships among the leading countries of the West. The pressure is on to push through basic agreements on reduction of tariffs and other barriers to trade well in advance of the expiration on June 30 of the U. S. Trade Expansion Act. American participation in the talks has been under the authority of that act. The Common Market's agricultural policy has threatened to restrict sales of American farm products to the six countries and thus has raised a major obstacle to success of the current negotiations. Failure of the negotiations and a “slowdown in the momentum toward freer world trade,” it is feared, would result in “a worldwide retreat into protectionism.”

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT)
Regional Political Affairs: Europe