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Definition: Maastricht Treaty
The Maastricht Treaty formerly known as the Treaty on European Union, was signed on 7 February, 1992 in Maastricht, Netherlands and subsequently enforced on 1 November, 1993. The treaty resulted in the creation of the European Union with the integration of the member countries of the European community and also resulted in the creation of the single European currency, the Euro. The treaty was a result of external events such as the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe and the prospect of German reunification as well as internal events which included the need to augment the achievements under the Single European Act with emphasis on economic reforms.
Apart from the economic objective of creating a common market, the objectives of the Maastricht Treaty included:
- Strengthening the democratic legitimacy of established institutions
- Improving their overall effectiveness
- Establishing an economic and a monetary union
- Developing the social dimension of the European Community
- Establishing a common defensive and foreign policy
The treaty thus resulted in the creation of the European Union consisting of three pillars – the European Communities, common foreign and security policy and police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters. The treaty created a single European citizenship over and above the national citizenship and mentions the rights vested in the citizens of the European Union. The treaty has been revised several times with several amendments made to the treaty.