The Paris Conference (19–20 February 1957)

The Paris Conference (19-20 February 1957)

Determined to settle the final outstanding issues in the Val Duchesse negotiations once and for all, so that the Treaties establishing the European Economic Community (EEC) and the European Atomic Energy Community (EAEC or Euratom) could be quickly signed in Rome, Guy Mollet, President of the French Council of Ministers, organised a final conference of the Six at the Hôtel Matignon in Paris on 19 and 20 February. On the agenda were problems relating to the Overseas Countries and Territories (OCT), Algeria, the Common External Tariff (CET) and ownership of fissile materials.

The conference was prepared on 18 February by a meeting of Foreign Ministers, which was extended on 19 February to become a conference of Heads of Government and Ministers for Foreign Affairs. The following took part: for Germany, Chancellor Konrad Adenauer and Heinrich von Brentano, the Minister for Foreign Affairs; for Belgium, Achille Van Acker, Prime Minister, and Paul-Henri Spaak, Minister for Foreign Affairs; for France, Guy Mollet, Christian Pineau, Minister for Foreign Affairs, and Maurice Faure, State Secretary for Foreign Affairs; for Italy, Antonio Segni, President of the Council of Ministers, Gaetano Martino, Minister for Foreign Affairs, and Vittorio Badini Confalonieri, Deputy State Secretary for Foreign Affairs; for Luxembourg, Joseph Bech, President of the Government and Minister for Foreign Affairs; and for the Netherlands, Willem Drees, Prime Minister, Joseph Luns, Minister for Foreign Affairs, and Ernst van der Beugel, Deputy State Secretary for Foreign Affairs.

At the end of difficult discussions, the Six finally reached agreement on the problems relating to the association of the OCT with the Common Market. They agreed that the EEC Treaty would contain principles expressing the six Member States’ desire to associate the overseas territories linked to them with the Common Market and to contribute to the economic and social investment needed to develop those territories. They also agreed to draw up a convention to be concluded for a period of five years and annexed to the Treaty, which would spell out the conditions of application, particularly as regards investment and the reciprocal opening up of markets in the Six and the OCT. Lastly, they provided for a new agreement to be negotiated in the EEC Council of Ministers before the convention expired.

As far as the EAEC was concerned, the Heads of Government and the Foreign Ministers of the Six decided that Euratom would have right of ownership of special fissile materials.

Finally, satisfied with the results achieved by the national delegations at Val Duchesse and convinced that the Common Market and Euratom Treaties were a decisive step on the path to European integration, they wanted the outcome of the work to be submitted to their respective governments swiftly so that the two Treaties could soon be signed in Rome.

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