Twenty years ago in European Report (now Europolitics)
Maastricht Treaty signing ceremony launches EEC reform
Monday 06 February 2012
(Article published inEuropean Report
n°1742, 8 February 1992)
EEC Foreign and Finance Ministers were scheduled to sign the European Union Treaty in the early evening of February 7 in Maastricht. This second revision of the 1957 Treaty of Rome is an historic step on the road to European Union. However, the Treaty must still be ratified by the Member States’ national parliaments and they now have less than eleven months in which to do so.
The Prime Minister of Portugal, Mr Anibal Cavaco Silva, described the Treaty as a subtle mixture of ambition and caution, idealism and pragmatism, solidarity and subsidiarity. The Treaty was drawn up by EEC Heads of State and Government meeting in Maastricht in the Netherlands on December 9-11. In contrast to the Single Act of 1987, the first revision of the Treaty of Rome, the Maastricht Treaty is seen as an important step towards European Union. It sets out a firm schedule for the adoption of a single European currency, the Ecu, by 1999; lays the foundations of a common security and defence policy; and provides for broader Community authority on the environment, health, research, networks, culture, and industrial and social policy. It offers European citizenship to EEC nationals and grants the European Parliament greater powers.
However, as Parliament President Egon Klepsch pointed out, the Treaty is not perfect. It does not create the European Union necessary, in his opinion, to meet current challenges. It does not make provision for the accession of new Member States. Maastricht, according to Mr Klepsch, should be a starting point for new efforts.
Though the Maastricht Treaty may be only a step to full European Union - it will be re-examined in 1996 - its consequences are significant enough to keep ratification by the national parliaments from being more than just a formality.