Euro-Atlantic Organisations

Euro-Atlantic Organisations in Europe

Content about Euro-Atlantic Organisations from the publication “The ABC of European Union law” (2010, European Union) by Klaus-Dieter Borchardt.

The Euro-Atlantic organisations came into being as a result of the alliance between the United States of America and Europe after the Second World War. It was no coincidence that the first European organisation of the postwar period, the OEEC (Organisation for European Economic Cooperation), founded in 1948, was created at the initiative of the United States. The US Secretary of State at the time, George Marshall, called on the countries of Europe in 1947 to join forces in rebuilding their economies and promised American help. This came in the form of the Marshall Plan, which provided the foundation for the rapid reconstruction of western Europe. At first, the main aim of the OEEC was to liberalise trade between countries. In 1960, when the USA and Canada became members, a further objective was added, namely to promote economic progress in the Third World through development aid. The OEEC then became the OECD.

Context of Euro-Atlantic Organisations in the European Union

In 1949, NATO was founded as a military alliance with the United States and Canada. In 1954, the Western European Union (WEU) was created to strengthen security policy cooperation between the countries of Europe. It brought together the countries that had concluded the Brussels Treaty (Belgium, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom) with the addition of the Federal Republic of Germany and Italy. Greece, Spain and Portugal have also become members. The WEU marked the beginnings of a security and defence policy in Europe in 1954. However, its role has not developed further, since the majority of its powers have been transferred to other international institutions, notably NATO, the Council of Europe and the EU. The WEU has retained the responsibility for collective defence, a role which has yet to be transferred to the EU.