Messina Conference

Messina Conference in Europe

Description of Messina Conference

The Concise Encyclopedia of the European Union describes messina conference in the following terms: [1] In 1954 plans to create a European Defence Community (to replace the national armies of Germany, France, Italy and the Benelux countries with a common defence force) collapsed when France refused to ratify the Treaty. The ‘Six’ thereupon turned their attention to the idea of a customs union, meeting at Messina in 1955 to entrust Paul-Henri Spaak of Belgium with the production of the report which led to the 1957 Treaty of Rome and the formation of the EEC, or Common Market.

The UK sent an emissary to the Messina Conference to argue the case for a free trade area, but did not attend the Conference officially, an omission to which British Europhiles attribute many of their country’s subsequent difficulties with Europe (see more in this European encyclopedia). The diagnosis appears flawed. The Six paid no attention to the British position. Nor could the UK have lightly abandoned Commonwealth trade, cheap food and the Anglo-American nuclear alliance in favour of expensive French farm produce, a protectionist Community and Euratom. Thus Charles de Gaulle, who saw the incompatibility clearsightedly, had good reason to veto the UK’s entry throughout the 1960s, even if he was also motivated by the wish to avoid having a rival for European leadership.


Notas y References

  1. Based on the book “A Concise Encyclopedia of the European Union from Aachen to Zollverein”, by Rodney Leach (Profile Books; London)

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