Maastricht Treaty - 30th Birthday

1 Nov 2023
Building with EU Flags

It was thirty years ago today, on 1 November 1993, that the Maastricht Treaty, also known as the Treaty on European Union, entered into force. The treaty was signed in 1992 by the heads of government of the states of the European Community in Maastricht, Netherlands, and established a European Union (EU) as well as introducing European citizenship.

The treaty aimed to increase cooperation between member states in economic, social, and legal matters, as well as establishing a common foreign and security policy with the aim of safeguarding the common values, fundamental interests, and independence of Europe.

As Liberal Democrats, we campaigned to keep the United Kingdom in the European Union and are now working to rebuild trust and developer a closer relationship with our European Partners. The same reasons for signing the treaty in 1992 still apply today.

The main elements of the Maastricht Treaty are:

  • European Union: The treaty established the European Union (EU).
  • European citizenship: The treaty introduced European citizenship, allowing citizens to reside in and move freely between Member States.
  • Economic cooperation: The treaty significantly increased cooperation between European countries in a number of new areas.
  • Common foreign and security policy: The treaty established a common foreign and security policy with the aim of safeguarding the common values, fundamental interests, and independence of the Union. It also included provisions on close cooperation on justice and home affairs to ensure the safety and security of European citizens.
  • Single currency: The treaty paved the way for the creation of a single European currency: the euro. It also established the European Central Bank (ECB) and the European System of Central Banks and describes their objectives. The UK opted out of this section of the treaty so that it could continue using the pound. Our nearest neighbours, Ireland, France and the Benelux countries have all introduced the single currency.

The Maastricht Treaty was originally signed by representatives from 12 countries: Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom. Its principles have been accepted by the 16 new member states who have since joined. They recognise the value of cooperation in our multipolar world.

(Cover Photo by Christian Lue/Unsplash)

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