Meeting in Paris on 10 and 11 February 1961, the Heads of State or Government of the Six decide to establish an Intergovernmental Committee, to be chaired by the French diplomat, Christian Fouchet, with the task of studying the issues involved in European cooperation, in particular those concerning the development of the Communities.
At a meeting held in Bad Godesberg, a suburb of Bonn, on 10 and 11 February 1961, the Heads of State or Government of the Six instruct their Committee to submit to them proposals on the means which will as soon as possible enable a statutory character to be given to the political union of Europe.
On 19 October and 2 November 1961, in accordance with the task conferred upon it by the Conference of Heads of State or Government of the Six in Bonn on 18 July 1961, the Fouchet Committee submits a first Draft Treaty on European Political Union (Fouchet Plan I).
On 20 January 1962, having rejected the second version of the Fouchet Plan (Fouchet Plan II) submitted by France on 18 January 1962, France's five partners subsequently publish an alternative to the Treaty on European Political Union.
Plans for political union with a view to enlargement
Meeting in the Hague on 1 and 2 December 1969, the Heads of State or Government of the six Member States of the European Communities ‘instruct the Ministers for Foreign Affairs to study the best way of achieving progress in the matter of political unification, within the context of enlargement.’
In this interview, Étienne Davignon, former Director-General for Policy in the Belgian Foreign Ministry, describes the preparations for what was to become the ‘Davignon Report’. This report, published in 1970, aimed to achieve progress in the field of political unification for the Member States of the European Communities through greater cooperation in the area of foreign policy.
In this interview, Étienne Davignon, former Director-General for Policy in the Belgian Foreign Ministry, explains how the Foreign Ministers of the Six reacted to the ‘Davignon Report’, which aimed to achieve progress in the field of political unification through greater cooperation in the area of foreign policy.
Meeting in Paris from 19 to 21 October 1972, the Heads of State or Government of the enlarged Communities of nine Member States declare their intention to transform all their relations into a European Union before 1980.
The Heads of State or Government of the nine Member States of the enlarged European Community meet for the first time at the Paris European Summit held from 19 to 21 October 1972. During this meeting, the Heads of State or Government confirm their wish to strengthen political cooperation.
Following the Paris Summit of 19–21 October 1972 and the entry into force of the Treaty of Accession of Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom to the European Communities on 1 January 1973, François-Xavier Ortoli, President of the Commission, gives an address at the first session of the Council of the enlarged Community, held on 15 January 1973 in Brussels. In his speech, Ortoli emphasises the tremendous sense of hope inspired by the words ‘European Union’ for the future of European nations.
The enlarged Communities' plans for political union
On 23 July 1973, in Copenhagen, as a follow-up to the Davignon Report adopted in Luxembourg on 27 October 1970, the Foreign Ministers of the Member States of the European Communities adopt a second report on the strengthening of European political cooperation in matters of foreign policy.
Meeting in Copenhagen on 14 and 15 December 1973, the Heads of State or Government of the nine Member States of the enlarged European Community ‘declare their intention of converting their entire relationship into a European Union before the end of this decade.’
At their meeting of 9 and 10 December 1974, in Paris, the Heads of State or Government of the Nine consider it essential to ensure progress and overall consistency in the activities of the Communities and in the work on political co-operation.
On 29 December 1975, the Belgian Prime Minister, Leo Tindemans, publishes his report on European Union, drawn up on the basis of instructions given by the Nine at the Paris European Council of 9 and 10 December 1974.
In its conclusions of 30 November 1976, the Hague European Council shares the views expressed by Leo Tindemans in his report of 29 December 1975 ‘on the need to build European Union by strengthening the practical solidarity of the nine Member States and their peoples […], and gradually to provide the Union with the instruments and institutions necessary for its operation.’
In this interview, Leo Tindemans, former Belgian Prime Minister, describes how his report on European Union was welcomed, in December 1975, by the Heads of State or Government of the Nine and outlines the main aspects of the text which were subsequently implemented in the process of European integration.
On 13 October 1981, in London, the Foreign Ministers of the Ten adopt a report on European Political Cooperation (EPC) that sets out a more coherent approach to international issues and to matters of security.
Plans for European Union leading to the Single Act
On 6 November 1981, the German and Italian Governments submit to their partners in the European Communities a Draft European Act, known as the Genscher–Colombo Plan, as a further contribution to the establishment of the European Union.
On 19 June 1983 in Stuttgart, the ten Heads of State or Government of the Member States of the European Communities, meeting within the European Council, signed the Solemn Declaration on European Union.
On 19 June 1983, the Stuttgart European Council adopts a Solemn Declaration on European Union. Among those photographed are François Mitterrand, Helmut Kohl, François-Xavier Ortoli, Pierre Werner, Margaret Thatcher, Ruud Lubbers and Leo Tindemans.
On 14 February 1984, the European Parliament adopts a draft Treaty on European Union, also known as the ‘Spinelli draft’, with a view to bringing about a reform of the Community institutions. Despite the limited impact of the draft Treaty, its adoption motivates the governments of the Member States of the Communities to propose a treaty, the draft Single European Act, in December 1985.
The Fontainebleau European Council of 25 and 26 June 1984 decides to set up an ad hoc committee on institutional affairs responsible for making ‘suggestions for the improvement of the operation of European cooperation in both the Community field and that of political, or any other, cooperation.’
In a report submitted on 29-30 March 1985, the Dooge Committee puts forward ideas for improving the operation of the Community system and proposes ways of enhancing European Political Cooperation (EPC). In particular, it calls on the Member States to demonstrate their common political will by formulating a genuine political entity: the European Union.
The Milan European Council, meeting on 28 and 29 June 1985, instructs the Presidency to take the steps required to convene an Intergovernmental Conference with a view to amending the EEC Treaty and draw up a treaty on a common foreign and security policy.
The 1985 Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) opens in Luxembourg on 9 September 1985. The photo shows Jacques Poos, Luxembourg Foreign Minister and President-in-Office of the Council, chairing the first ministerial meeting.
On 2 and 3 December 1985, the European Council, held under the Luxembourgish presidency, adopts a series of texts which, combined in a ‘Single European Act', are to be completed at the Luxembourg Intergovernmental Conference on 16 and 17 December 1985 and approved on 17 February 1986.
On 5 December 1985, the French newspaper Le Figaro gives an account of the Luxembourg European Council and welcomes the agreements reached in extremis by the Heads of State and Government of the European Economic Community concerning the revision of the Treaty of Rome.
In this interview, Catherine Lalumière, former French Junior Minister for European Affairs, describes the laborious compromise secured at the Luxembourg European Council on the new formulation, through the Single European Act, of a key article for the completion of the single market: Article 100 of the EEC Treaty on the approximation of the laws of the Member States.
On 17 and 28 February 1986, the Member States of the European Communities sign the Single European Act with a view to implementing a European union on the basis, firstly, of the Communities operating in accordance with their own rules and, secondly, of European Political Cooperation (EPC) in the sphere of foreign policy.
On 17 February 1986, in Luxembourg, nine Member States sign the Single European Act (Germany, Belgium, Spain, France, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal and the United Kingdom). In the foreground is the Dutch President of the European Council, Hans van den Broek.
In its Resolution of 17 April 1986, the European Parliament takes the view that the Single European Act, even with the few improvements expected, does not bring into being the European Union and that the establishment of such European Union is more necessary than ever.
In this interview, Jacques Santer, former Luxembourg Prime Minister and Finance Minister, summarises the origins of the Single European Act (SEA), drawing particular attention to the last-minute difficulties that arose at the Luxembourg European Council held on 2 and 3 December 1985.
The Intergovernmental Conferences leading to the Treaty on European Union
In its Resolution of 14 June 1990, the European Parliament indicates its intention to draw up a draft constitution for the European Union, thereby updating the draft treaty of 14 February 1984. The European Parliament points out that the ‘Spinelli draft treaty’ is still the only comprehensive and coherent model for European Union.
By this Resolution of 11 July 1990, the European Parliament decides to draw up a draft constitution for the European Union on the basis of the main points of the Spinelli draft treaty of 14 February 1984 and in accordance with guidelines laid down by Parliament to take account of the experience of the Single European Act.
By this Resolution of 11 July 1990, the European Parliament welcomes the convening of a Conference on Political Union and the fact that the agenda of the forthcoming reform of the Treaties is to be widened beyond economic and monetary union. Whereas the division between external economic relations and European Political Cooperation (EPC) is increasingly difficult to maintain in practice, the European Parliament calls for these two aspects of the Community’s international action to be dealt with within the Community framework.
The Intergovernmental Conferences leading to the Treaty on European Union
In its Opinion of 21 October 1990, the European Commission advocates a single Community that will encompass the Community policies and European Political Cooperation (EPC), making them subject to the same institutions and to the same decision-making procedures.
On 27 and 28 October 1990, at a time when German reunification marks a decisive moment in the process of European integration, the European Council meets in Rome to hold a wide-ranging discussion on preparations for the two Intergovernmental Conferences (IGCs), one on Economic and Monetary Union and the other on Political Union, which are planned for December.
Group photo of the Rome European Council meeting of 27 and 28 October 1990 convened with a view to taking stock of the organisation of the two Intergovernmental Conferences (IGC) on Economic and Monetary Union and Political Union.
On 6 December 1990, François Mitterrand and Helmut Kohl provide a more detailed explanation of their joint statement of 18 April 1990 by proposing an extension of the Union’s powers and responsibilities, increased powers for Parliament, a strengthening of the role of the European Council and identification of the areas to be covered by a common foreign and security policy (CFSP).
In its conclusions adopted on 15 December 1990, the Rome European Council provides the context for the holding of two Intergovernmental Conferences (IGC) on Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) and on Political Union, officially opening in Rome on the same date.
On 18 June 1991, the Luxembourg Council Presidency presents a draft Treaty on European Union, drawn up on the basis of the proceedings at the two intergovernmental conferences on Political Union and Economic and Monetary Union, which began on 15 December 1990 in Rome. This draft, which proposes the establishment of three pillars for the Union, is to be the basis for negotiations within the two conferences that will lead to the adoption of the Treaty of Maastricht on 7 February 1992.
In this interview, Jacques Santer, former Luxembourg Prime Minister and Finance Minister, comments on the work of the Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) on Political Union and recalls the origins of the three-pillar structure which the Luxembourg Presidency proposed on 17 April 1991 for the future Treaty on European Union.