The Treaty signed on 7 February 1992 in Maastricht lays the foundations for a new European structure. It establishes a ‘European Union' that brings together not only the three European Communities, but also two areas of political cooperation between Member States (CFSP and JHA). The aim is to allow these three elements to develop within a unified framework. This new structure is generally represented in the form of a Greek temple made of three pillars: the Community pillar, which has a supranational character, and the second and third pillars, which have an intergovernmental character.
Diagram showing the three-pillar structure of the European Union as created by the Maastricht Treaty signed on 7 February 1992 and modified by the Treaty of Amsterdam in 1997. The Community pillar, which has a supranational character, includes the three European Communities. The second and third pillars, which have an intergovernmental character, concern respectively the common foreign and security policy (CFSP) and police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters (PJCC).
Map illustrating the European Union’s changing composition following the successive enlargements of the European Communities, from the six founding countries to the Union of 28 Member States. This map also shows the candidate countries currently in accession negotiations, the other candidate countries and the potential candidates.
This article, published on 29 May 1997 in the French daily newspaper Le Figaro, analyses the characteristics of the European economic model as defined since 1957 by the Treaty establishing the European Economic Community (EEC), and confirmed and clarified by the 1992 Maastricht Treaty on European Union.
In response to the warning bell sounded by the Eurosceptics against the transformation of the European Union into a superstate, the British Sunday newspaper The Observer carries out a poll in December 2000 among a few European affairs experts in an attempt to establish what exactly is the legal nature of the organisation.
Le 17 avril 2001, lors d'une audition au Sénat français devant la délégation pour l'Union européenne, Jean-Claude Piris, jurisconsulte du Conseil de l'Union, répond avec précision aux questions des sénateurs sur la nature de l'Union européenne et de son gouvernement, sur les principaux défis à relever par l'organisation dans l'avenir et sur l'opportunité d'adopter une Constitution européenne.
Anne-Cécile Robert, who holds a law doctorate and is a journalist on Le Monde diplomatique, casts a critical eye over the nature and operation of the European Union which, she feels, is an original construct founded on liberal philosophy but which needs to strike a better balance between its — unequally integrated — fields of activity and secure greater democratic legitimacy.
In this interview, Jacques F. Poos, former Luxembourg Foreign Minister, sees in the proliferation of treaties on European Union a desire on the part of the governments of the Member States to adapt to the new geopolitical situations.
Le 11 décembre 2006, le Premier ministre luxembourgeois, Jean-Claude Juncker, expose sa vision de l'Union européenne lors d'une conférence donnée à l'Université du Luxembourg. Le mensuel d'information économique et financière AGEFI Luxembourg s'en fait l'écho dans son numéro de janvier 2007.
The European Union as a model for regional integration
In a declaration issued at the third European Union-Latin America/Caribbean Summit, held in Guadalajara, Mexico, on 28 and 29 May 2004, the Heads of State or Government recognise the importance of regional integration and support projects aimed at promoting sustainable economic, social, cultural and human development on a regional basis. Accordingly, they undertake to continue to cooperate bi-regionally in the development and institutionalisation of the integration processes in Latin America and the Caribbean.
On 8 December 2004, representatives of 12 South American countries meeting in Cusco, Peru, decide to establish the South American Community of Nations (SACN) along the lines of the European Union. The Cusco Declaration marks the birth of an organisation seeking to build a South American area integrated in the political, social, economic and environmental fields, and in its infrastructures.
Group photo taken at the third South American Presidential Summit of 8 December 2004. The Presidents of the 12 countries of South America adopt the Cuzco Declaration on the South American Community of Nations.
On 8 December 2004, the representatives of 12 South American countries meeting in Cusco, Peru, decide to establish the South American Community of Nations (SACN). In statements to the press, they refer to the European Union on several occasions as an example of integration.
On 20 March 2008 in Ljubljana, the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly adopts a resolution on experiences from the European regional integration process relevant to ACP countries (Africa, Caribbean and Pacific).