After suffering from two world wars between 1914 and 1945, Europe was longing for a peaceful future. The Western European Countries wanted to make sure they would never fight each other again by establishing a unique partnership where they would work closely together for the benefit of all their citizens. Beside peace and stability the major goal was to establish a basis to ease the trade between countries. In 1957, six countries (Belgium, France, West Germany, Italy and the Netherlands) joined together to create the European Economic Community (EEC). The EEC later became the European Union (EU) The fifth enlargement of the EU, which has started in May 2004, will be completed when, as expected, Romania and Bulgaria are acceded in 2007 (European Commission).
Article 6 of the Treaty establishing the European Union, henceforth 'Treaty', states the principles, the European Union is based upon:
'The Union is founded on the principles of liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and the rule of law, principles which are common to the Member States.'
The Treaty defines its objectives in Article 2:
"The Community shall have as its task, by establishing a common market and an economic and monetary union and by implementing common policies or activities referred to in Articles 3 and 4, to promote throughout the Community a harmonious, balanced and sustainable development of economic activities, a high level of employment and of social protection, equality between men and women, sustainable and non-inflationary growth, a high degree of competitiveness and convergence of economic performance, a high level of protection and improvement of the quality of the environment, the raising of the standard of living and quality of life, and economic and social cohesion and solidarity among Member States."
The institutions of the Community are governed through Article 7 in the Treaty, which defines their scope and constraints.
'The tasks entrusted to the Community shall be carried out by the following institutions: European Parliament, Council, Commission, Court of Justice, Court of Auditors. Each institution shall act within the limits of the powers conferred upon it by this Treaty.'
The Treaty of Maastricht is also referred to as the Treaty on European Union (TEU) and established the EU as an overarching organisation founded on three pillars.
2.1 Legislation within the EU
The substantive law of the EU is based upon its constitutional law, and therefore the primary legislation - the treaties of the European Union. Treaties are self-executing and directly applicable. They become law on ratification by the government of each member country and by either the national parliament or its citizens in a referendum (Foreign & Commonwealth Office Britain in the EU).
'The constitutive Treaties lay the foundations of the Community. They may be regarded as the constitution of the Community: they set up the various organs of the Community and...