The Economist explains: The significance of the Treaty of Rome

The Economist explains: The significance of the Treaty of Rome

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ON MARCH 25th the European Union’s heads of government will gather in the glorious Sala Degli Orazi e Curiazi of Rome’s Palazzo dei Conservatori to issue a solemn declaration of unity. The moment will be freighted with significance: exactly 60 years earlier, as expectant crowds huddled under umbrellas on the Piazza del Campidoglio outside, plenipotentiaries from six Western European countries—France, West Germany, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg—assembled in the same room to sign the Treaty of Rome. The 1957 treaty established the institutions that made up the European Economic Community—the European Commission, the Council of Ministers, the European Parliament and the European Court of Justice (ECJ)—which was in time to become the EU. (A second treaty signed that day created the European Atomic Energy Community, later folded into the EU.) What was the significance of the Treaty of Rome?The treaty emerged from the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), signed by the six countries in Paris in 1951, with the ashes from the second world war still smouldering. By uniting industrial production under a centralised authority the ECSC was, in the words of Robert Schuman, France’s foreign minister, designed to make war “not only unthinkable but materially impossible”. It was also …

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Messing with Texas: Texans worry about trade with Mexico under Donald Trump

Messing with Texas: Texans worry about trade with Mexico under Donald Trump

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TIME is precious in the Texas legislature, which meets for just 140 days every other year. Since January 10th, when the 85th regular session began, nearly 8,000 bills and resolutions have been filed. Many of them will quietly die of neglect. And yet earlier this month, the Texas House’s International Trade and Intergovernmental Affairs Committee announced that it would take the time to reflect, learn and grow. “We are not gonna hear a lot of bills in this committee,” said Rafael Anchia, a Democratic representative who serves as the committee’s chair, calling the hearing to order. “We are gonna learn and we are gonna raise consciousness in this in this body about international trade and how important it is to Texas.” As an example, he cited Texas’s ties to its trading partner and neighbour, Mexico.  Over the next few hours a clear consensus emerged. Carlos González Gutiérrez, the Consul General of Mexico in Austin, said that no other state in America had benefited from the North American Free-Trade Agreement (NAFTA) as Texas had.  “What you sell to my country is worth 6% of your state GDP, compared to 1.3% nationally,” he said. No one disagreed. “Geography’s not going to change,” observed Chris Wilson of the Wilson Center’s Mexico Institute, one of the several experts who, having …

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