2/3 : 1993, a turning point ?

For Denis Duez, the entry into force of the Maastricht treaty really is a major step in the history of the European integration, only comparable to the signature of the Treaties of Rome in 1957.


Maastricht is the transition from an Economic Commuity to a “Union”, denomination which marks an explicit politization of the European project, which had been discarded at the outset in favour of a “small steps” method.


It is also the idea of a Union which now finds itself at the service of European citizens, thanks to the creation of a citizenship adding itself to the national ones.


Finally, the year 1993 is also the setting up of a European area in which the four major freedoms of movement are implemented (goods, services, capitals, persons)


By making the distinguish between “three pillars” – next to the single market there is now cooperation between the Member-states in the field of external policy and security, as well as police and legal cooperation – we are changing the very nature of the European project.


We change the very nature of the European project, and we do so in a fully mutating geopolitical context. The Maastricht Treaty intervenes quite fast after the end of the Cold War – the fall of the Berlin wall and dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 – but this new peace is quicky challenged by the tearing-apart of Yugoslavia.


According to Denis Duez, it is precisely the third pillar, the one about the domestic security of the Union, that allowed the Europeans to find the smaller common denominator around which we can start discussing beyond economic integration. The question of the Union borders quickly appears to be a major issue, because what is a political body if not a community surrounded by borders ? There is therefore a shift from the issue of peace to the issue of security.


Concerning the foreign policy, long considered as the poor relation of the policies launched by Maastricht, we must recognize that the Treaty did play a “pivotal” role in this field, considering that the European Union recognized itself as a legitimate player on the international scene.