The signing of the Treaties establishing the European Economic Community (EEC) and the European Atomic Energy Community (EAEC or Euratom) in Rome on 25 March 1957 marked a key stage in the history of European integration. Less than five years after the entry into force of the Paris Treaty establishing the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), and less than three years after the failure of the planned European Defence Community (EDC) and the European Political Community (EPC), united Europe took an irreversible step forward towards integration, particularly since, unlike the Treaty establishing the ECSC (signed for 50 years), the Rome Treaties made no provision for a time limit or a withdrawal procedure.

Since its establishment in March 1957, 21 states have joined the European Community — subsequently the European Union — bringing the total number of Member States to 27.

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