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The Treaty of Rome, or Treaty establishing the European Economic Community, was signed on 25 March 1957 and entered into force on 1 January 1958. It set up the European Economic Community (EEC), bringing together Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands to work together towards integration and economic growth through trade, establishing a common market based on the free movement of goods, people, services, and capital.
The goal of the EEC was to transform the conditions of trade and production on the territory of its 6 member states, but also to serve as a step towards the closer political unification of Europe. The treaty created a common market, in which the signatory countries agreed to gradually align their economic policies. It created a single economic area with free competition between companies and broadly prohibited restrictive agreements and government subsidies which could affect trade between the 6 countries. The 6 members’ overseas countries and territories were also included in these arrangements in order to promote their economic and social development. The customs union that was created abolished quotas and customs duties between its 6 signatories and established a common external tariff on imports from outside the EEC.
Joint policies were adopted among the member countries: common agricultural policy, common trade policy and transport policy. The treaty allowed the creation of other joint policies in the future, should the need arise.
The Treaty of Rome established institutions to allow member states to work both for their national interests and for a common European goal: the Council of Ministers, the Commission, the Parliamentary Assembly (later to become the European Parliament) and the Court of Justice.
The Treaty establishing the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) was signed together with the Treaty of Rome.
Signing ceremony. EC Audiovisual Service