History of the European Commission (EC)

The European Commission, based in Brussels, is an extremely important and powerful body that has the right to impose its decisions on member states of the European Union (EU). It has the power to draw up treaties, laws and policies.

The idea of the European Commission was initiated in 1950, when the French Foreign Affairs Minister, R. Shuman, proposed the creation of an executive body for the European Steal and Coal Community (ECSC). This body would be known as the High Authority. The foundation for the Treaty of Paris to establish the ECSC was signed in 1951. The ECSC included France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg.

In 1958, these six countries signed the Treaty of Rome to establish two more communities: the European Economic Community and European Atomic Energy Community, to work alongside the ECSC.

In 1967, the three communities merged to become collectively known as the European Communities (EC) whose main focus was on cooperation in economic and agricultural affairs. Denmark, Ireland and the UK became full EC members in 1973, Greece joined in 1981, Portugal and Spain in 1986, Austria, Finland and Sweden in 1995.

The Treaty on European Union (1992), signed at Maastricht in 1991, formally established the European Union as the successor to the EC.

Further amendments to the treaty:

Further information: