European unification Huberman

  • Issue: December 1992
  • Designer: R. Hefer
  • Stamp size: 30.8 x 30.8 mm
  • Plate no.: 171
  • Sheet of 15 stamps Tabs: 5
  • Printers: E. Lewin-Epstein Ltd.
  • Method of printing: Offset

The concept of the unification of Europe arose after the Second World War. Those behind the idea sought to bring the countries of Western Europe to work together in unity. The model on which they based themselves was that of the greatest power in the world: the United States of America. Cooperation between the Western European countries and bringing them closer together would yield a number of fruits: it would facilitate the rehabilitation of Europe and ensure its economic revival; in the opinion of all the experts, it would most likely prevent another world war.

The cornerstone for the unification was set by the French Foreign Minister, Robert Schumann. In 1950 he called on Germany to sign an agreement with France on the joint production and marketing of coal and steel. There was nothing more auspicious than Germany and France - two states which had been hostile to each other since 1870 - signing, six years after the end of the Second World War, an agreement which would lead to the unification of Europe. In 1951 the agreement for the setting up of a European Community on Coal and Atomic Energy was signed, which incorporated six slates: Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Belgium.

In 1957 these six states signed the Rome Treaty, which was an agreement to set up the European Economic Community (the EEC) and to establish a common market between them. In 1975 Eire, Denmark and Great Britain joined the EEC. In 1981, Greece joined the Community: Spain and Portugal n 1985. So the number of countries of the EEC had now doubled from six to twelve.

Among the basic principles of the EEC was the desire to unify the member countries economically, politically, socially and in terms of their common defence. The Community wanted to add a number of other European states to the Community. once they met the conditions of acceptance which had been laid down. Over the years it had become clear to those involved that prior to unification a psychological process had to take place in winch the citizens of the member states would give up a little of their nationalism and their independence. It was also clear that unification should take place in stages, and that the economic aspects were the easiest to carry out; therefore it was decided to begin with the economic unification of the member states.

Economic unification was described by its proponents as having three main constituents:

The bodies responsible for implementing the unification are the European Common Market institutions. The European Community has a number of institutions which, once unification has been achieved. could serve as governmental institutions.

The principal Mareet institutions are:

The Communty also has a number of other institutions and bodies, such as an Institute for Customs Matters, a Standards Institute, a Patent Registration Institute, an Environmental Institute, a Consumer Institute.

The president of the Council and the responsibility for running the Common Market is worked out in rotation. Each country in turn undertakes these jobs. Brussels was chosen as the capital of the Community and most of the institutions are located there.

The Community decided to introduce a uniform currency called tse ECU It will be legal tender as from 1997. From 2000, the ECU will be the only currency in use in countries of the Community.

The Community has nine official languages. However, English, French and German are used predominantly in discussions and official documents.

All the citzenx of the Community will have a uniform passport, whicn will indicate the country in which it was issued.

The European Community has a flag: twelve golden stars on a blue oackground. The stars represent the number of the member countries.

In t 995 the heads of the twelve member countr vs of the European Economic Community IEEC - or, as t was popularly callen, the Common Market met ano decided that their official name would oe the European Community. It was also decided to step up legslation procedures rerating to more than 300 laws ansi ordinances which win provide the framework for the process of unification and regulate tne relationship between the countries, mainly in economic and sociar spheres. Tnis process is callex 'Tne Single Europen Act.

The deadi xv for conoucting th,s legislative process s the 31sf December 1992. When the aw and ordinances come sto force, this wi ov the real neginning of the economic and vocial unification of the European Community. On this date the free trade agreement between the European Community and the EFTA countres (Sweden, Switzerland. Austria, Finland. Norway ann Iceland) wil also come nto force and is this way the Econom,c European area will arso come into hying. is December 199t,the hexos of states of the Community met in the Dutch tows of Maastr,cht to work out the programme for unification. Differences of opinion between tne different countries came to iignr. when England and Denmark requested that the pace of unification be slowed down and that they nof be included in some of the unification arrangements.

Each one of the twelve states was asked to ratify the agreement on the unification programme in ts own parliament. Some of them did this through a referendum. So far the Danish people are the only ones to have said no to unification. Just the same, it seems that the process of unification is inevitable. The European Community will ultimately become the largest economic power in the world, with some 380 millIon citizens.

The artists description of the stamp:
The stamp conveys hope for economic growth in Israel as a result of the economic unification of Europe. The use of the economic mofif of a graph, combined with rich co/ours of the upward slanted lines on the graph appearing as the different national flags waving in the wind, together create an optimistic and vital picture.

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European unification - philately day