A provincial capital in the Netherlands, where the European Council (a meeting of the Heads of Government of the European Community) agreed the Maastricht Treaty.

This treaty purports to set up a Political Union and transform the Community from an association for economic benefit to a political federation. Does it really do this? Will it come into effect? Two members, Denmark and Britain, demanded opt outs from some important provisions: the Currency and Common foreign and defense policy.

There were doubts at the time about whether it was possible to bring in a common currency which would perhaps to be the most important feature of a federation . These doubts have been allayed as the currency has come into being.

The treaty came into effect on 1 November 1993. Will that be celebrated as European Federation Day, like 4 July in the United States?

No, probably not.

Getting the Maastricht Treaty approved in the British House of Commons proved difficult for John Major, the then Prime Minister, as many of his MPs were hostile to everything connected with the European Community (as it then was). Some of them are still in the Commons and may well make life difficult for a subsequent conservative government, if one is elected in 2010.

Maastricht has been superseded by the Treaty of Lisbon, creating a permanent President of the EU and other changes to make the Union more effective.

Last revised 14/10/09


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