On 16 February 1986, the eve of the signature of the Single European Act (SEA), the Belgian newspaper La Libre Belgique publishes an article criticising the measures set out under the SEA and expressing the desire that the European Community develop, first and foremost, through a union of peoples.
On 16 February 1986, the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung commented on the Danish Government's decision not to sign the Single European Act the following day since it was waiting for the results of a national referendum on the full text.
On 17 and 28 February 1986, in Luxembourg and then in The Hague, the Foreign Ministers of the Twelve sign the Single European Act (SEA) which comprises provisions relating to the reform of the Community institutions, the broadening of areas of Community competence and cooperation between the Twelve 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.
On 17 February 1986, on the occasion of the signing of the Single European Act in Luxembourg, Robert Goebbels, Luxembourg’s Junior Foreign Minister, highlights the progress as well as the weaknesses of the Treaty.
On 17 February 1986, Hans van den Broek, President of the Conference of the Representatives of the Governments of the Member States of the European Communities, welcomes the signing of the Single European Act (SEA).
In this interview excerpt, Jacques Delors, President of the Commission of the European Communities from 1985 to 1995, describes the context in which the intergovernmental conference was opened, and emphasises the influence of the European Commission and the Luxembourg Presidency in the negotiations that led to the adoption of the Single European Act, Delors' ‘favourite treaty'.
Reactions to the signing of the Single European Act
On 18 February 1986, the Luxembourg daily newspaper Luxemburger Wort describes the challenges faced as a result of the signing, the day before in Luxembourg, of the Single European Act by Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom.
The signing of the Single European Act (SEA) on 17 February 1986 in Luxembourg is only a partial success for German cartoonist Walter Hanel. The reform sought by the European Communities does not go far enough, and many countries express their disappointment at the lack of substance of the SEA. Moreover, Denmark, Italy and Greece do not sign the SEA until some days later, on 28 February 1986 in The Hague.
Denmark, Italy and Greece failed to sign the Single European Act on 17 February 1986, in Luxembourg. For the Belgian newspaper Le Soir, this highlights existing divisions between the European countries on the issue of reforming the European Community.
On 1 July 1987, the day that the Single European Act enters into force, the Luxembourg daily newspaper Luxemburger Wort summarises the main thrust of this text which aims to give a new political and economic impetus to European integration.