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The Total Allowable Catch, or TAC, system is part of the Common Fisheries Policy. It specifies the quantity of each species that each member state may catch. Designed for conservation, the system overlooks the fact that fish do not swim in a regimented manner and that fishermen are hard men, struggling to make a living and difficult to supervise. The resultant combination of evasion and forced dumping of dead fish produces a far from benign environmental outcome.


A programme of aid for Russia, the former republics of the USSR and Mongolia, TACIS absorbs over $500 million a year in EU hand-outs and has become a byword for waste and corruption. (See also PHARE.)


Tangentopoli ('Bribesville') refers to the web of Italian corruption scandals in the early 1990s that brought down Giulio Andreotti, Bettino Craxi and many others in high places, leading to the collapse of the Christian Democratic Party and the discrediting of Italian politics. The campaign to clean up the system was known as 'mani pulite' ('clean hands').


In the general perception, the Community's right to intervene in tax matters is restricted under the Treaty of Rome to harmonisation of indirect taxes such as VAT and excise duties (from which source the EU also collects most of its own budgetary funding). Proposals concerning direct taxes require unanimity and are therefore subject to the national veto. In practice, however, since around 1996 two theories have been developed by the Community to justify intrusion into the field of direct tax - first, that the single market presupposes harmonisation of corporate tax; and second, that the revenue base of higher tax countries needs protection from 'harmful competition', that is to say artificial loopholes or (in the extreme formulation) the mere existence of more attractive tax regimes in other member states.

Even before these developments, the Commission had drawn up a Merger Directive sanctioning the refusal of tax relief in a cross-border amalgamation if one of the companies involved fails to meet its obligations regarding worker participation. Then in 1998, in two telling cases (Safir and ICI), the Court of Justice (ECJ) delivered itself of the judgment that 'although, as Community law stands at present, direct taxation does not ... fall within the purview of the Community, the powers retained by the member states must nevertheless be exercised consistently with Community law'.

The ICI case concerned cross-border consortium tax relief: in the Court's opinion UK law contravened the Community's doctrine of freedom of establishment. The Safir case concerned Swedish insurance company tax law: the Court ruled that its own guiding principle was the need 'to enable the objectives of the single market to be met'. In effect, the ECJ was now close to establishing itself as the supreme national tax court in any case for which it could claim jurisdiction.

The theory of 'fiscal dumping' gains its impetus in part from the supranational ambitions of the Commission and in part from the wish of high-tax countries, notably Germany and France, to avoid losing economic activity through migration to low-tax locations. In 1997 an EU Code of Conduct on business tax was agreed, leading to a three-year search for practical proposals. Certain special tax incentives in Dublin, Madeira, Trieste, Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxembourg were an obvious potential point of attack, as were the various tax havens, such as the Channel Islands, Bermuda, Gibraltar and The Netherlands Antilles, which are linked to member states. More ominously, an attempt - vigorously opposed by Britain - to impose a Community-wide savings tax on the international bond market threatened to drive that market from the City of London to Wall Street (from where, ironically, it had been expelled some 40 years earlier by a similar US tax). 'Tax harmonisation' became one of the central themes of successive EU presidencies.

Proponents of free markets argued that harmonisation would lead to a job-destroying upward drift in taxes, whereas tax competition would lead to reduced taxes and more resilient economies. Such voices, however, were in the minority. A more significant bar to harmonisation was the multiplicity of national regimes and the fact that taxes as a percentage of GDP varied from around 35% in the UK, Ireland and Spain to over 50% in Sweden and Greece, while top corporate rates ranged from 57% in Germany to 31% in the UK. Methods of tax collection also differed from country to country, as did the social priorities underlying the various tax structures. All in all, it was not a background against which agreement would come easily. (See also 'Fiscal dumping' and VAT.)

TEC (Treaty establishing the European Community)

See Treaty of Rome.


See Trans-European networks.


See Treaty on European Union and Maastricht Treaty.

Thatcher, Margaret (1925-)

Margaret Thatcher and Charles de Gaulle share the distinction of being the two most redoubtable supporters of the sovereign state and most adamant opponents of supranationalism in the EC's brief history. Having defeated Edward Heath to lead the Conservative Party in 1975, Thatcher became prime minister in 1979 and promptly engaged the Community in battle over the size of the British contribution to the budget. Her demand 'Give us our money back' reflected her sense of injustice that the UK was the second biggest net contributor after Germany, while being far from the second richest member state. To Europeans brought up to view the Community's own resources as sacrosanct, her combative language struck a jarring note. For nearly five years they accused her of a commercial attitude unworthy of the Community's high purpose, but in 1984 President François Mitterrand finally settled the issue at Fontainebleau with the British rebate.

A slayer of dragons (including her militant union opponents in the UK and the Argentinian junta of General Galtieri in the 1982 Falklands War), Thatcher had no patience with the bureaucratic procedures and compromise deals with which coalition European politicians were at ease. Yet vigorously though she swung her handbag, she made little progress in resisting European integration. She had a formidable opponent in the Commission president Jacques Delors, as de Gaulle had had in Walter Hallstein. Unlike de Gaulle, however, she had no significant European political allies, for her language was abrasive and Helmut Kohl and Mitterrand were as determined as Delors to press on with federation.

Despite her reservations about the direction Europe was taking, Thatcher initiated one of the EU's main positive achievements - the single market programme, designed by a British commissioner, Lord Cockfield. The Single European Act of 1986, which gave force to the single market, greatly increased the scope of qualified majority voting. It was not easy to foresee that the volume of intrusive legislation which would follow, in the name of harmonisation of standards, would go far beyond the minimum necessary for the creation of the internal market. Still less was it predictable that a broader precedent was being set for replacing unanimity (that is, the sovereign right of veto) by majority voting - an outcome which Thatcher later deplored.

Over the years she made some inroads on the costly Common Agricultural Policy, without obtaining the radical reform she sought. As for EMU, after holding out initially against British participation in the ERM, she agreed in 1989, under the threat of cabinet resignations, to enter 'when the conditions were right'. The following year she was forced by colleagues against her better judgment to enter at what proved to be an unsustainable exchange rate. Her refusal to sign the Social Charter was less controversial, but in 1990 she fell from power, ousted through divisions in her own party caused in large part by dissent over her handling of European issues.

Thatcher was resented by Europhiles from the outset. Her attachment to British parliamentary democracy they saw as 'Little Englanderism'. Her labour market reforms and her assessment that NATO and the American alliance were the bedrock of security struck them as clinging to Anglo-Saxon, as opposed to European, attitudes. When her Bruges speech of 1988 laid out her vision of voluntary co-operation between sovereign nations rather than direction by supranational European institutions, her opponents replied by disparaging the very idea of sovereignty. A robust defender of the free market, her suspicion of Delors was enhanced by his rapturous reception at the British Trades Union Congress of 1988.

To a Europe attuned to welfare and the social market economy her doctrines sounded unfeeling. Nevertheless, even her detractors accept that the CAP needs comprehensive reform; that the EU suffers from a democratic deficit; that EMU is fraught with difficulties; and that the UK's restored economic strength is in large measure due to her influence. She can doubtless be faulted for her antipathy to German reunification and her choice of a tone which would win her few Continental friends, but she remains a memorable witness to uncomfortable truths in the annals of the EU.

Third way

A phrase perhaps coined by the National Front in the 1930s, the 'third way' used to mean an alternative to capitalism and communism. It has been appropriated as a slogan by Tony Blair's New Labour to suggest a caring, but market-driven, approach to government. In the EU context it hints at a compromise between laissez-faire economics and the social market, designed to avoid the alleged brutality of the one and uncompetitiveness of the other. The Dutch economy is sometimes quoted as a model. The equivalent German expression is neue Mitte, or 'new middle'. Conservative thinkers dismiss the phrase as vacuous: French prime minister Lionel Jospin has dismissed it as too Anglo-Saxon to be of relevance on the Continent.


An EU Directive agreed in 1997 will lead to a phased ban, starting from 2002, on virtually all cigarette company advertising and sponsorship of sporting events. Formula One motor racing will be the last sport to lose its tobacco sponsorship, having gained an exemption until 2006. The moral high ground thus seized by the Commission was, however, undermined by the fact that the Community continued to subsidise some 200,000 inefficient European tobacco growers, chiefly in Greece and Italy, to the extent of about $900 million per year, much of it spent fraudulently.

Trade unions

Despite the EU's left-of-centre corporatism and their representation in the Economic and Social Committee, trade unions play little part in European policy formation. This lack of influence is not primarily due to the movement's traditional antipathy to the Common Market as a rich man's club, an attitude which largely evaporated in the 1980s. Nor is it due to insensitivity on the part of the Community to social needs - on the contrary, member states have gone a long way in the other direction, lavishing protection on the workforce to the point where in France and Germany the cost of employing people is almost prohibitive. The reason for the trade unions' impotence is that their focus is essentially national and they have been slow to modernise their thinking at a time when globalisation, e-commerce and the pressures of the single currency call for new approaches.

Trans-European networks (TENs)

The 1992 Maastricht Treaty envisaged integrated Europe-wide transport, telecommunications and energy networks, financed nationally but aided by Commission feasibility studies and by the resources of the Cohesion Fund, the other structural funds and the European Investment Bank. The priorities reflected traditional 'cohesion themes' - cross-border technical compatibility ('interoperability' in Eurospeak), assistance to outlying areas, aid to poorer regions and the enhancement of the infrastructure of the single market. In the event, however, the project, on which Commission president Jacques Santer had staked his credibility, ran short of money; and when Santer's proposal to raid the farm budget's surplus was rejected in 1996 the TENs lost their main protagonist.

Transnational parties

See Political groups.


The EU's Treaties display ostensible devotion to the principle of transparency. Nevertheless, secrecy dogs the deliberations of the Commission and the legislative processes of the Council of Ministers. The Court of Justice does not record dissenting opinions, nor does the Central Bank publish voting records or minutes of its interest rate discussions. The obscure language of the Maastricht and Amsterdam Treaties is more charitably ascribed to bureaucratic drafting than to a desire for concealment or a calculated indifference to public understanding, but the end result is the same. The European Parliament's proceedings, by contrast, are open. The problem there is that few in the outside world are much interested in them.

As the EU's decision-making powers have expanded, the need for transparency has become sufficiently strongly felt to have prompted some steps in the right direction. Legislative votes of the Council are now occasionally published; national parliaments are to be allowed (at least in theory) more time for scrutiny of draft legislation; and the Community's institutions are providing more information to the European Parliament. Nevertheless, the habits of concealment and unaccountability die hard and the EU's southern member states are notably less concerned about openness than the northern ones.

Treaty of Amsterdam

The Treaty of Amsterdam, agreed in 1997 and ratified in 1998, was intended as a sequel to the Maastricht Treaty, with the emphasis on institutional reform to facilitate enlargement and address the EU's 'democratic deficit'. The concept was that a Community designed originally for six rich nations needed a new structure to accommodate up to 25 countries, some of them relatively poor. Much of the Treaty takes the form of amendments to and renumbering of the Treaties of Rome and Maastricht, making it hard to follow. The Europhile verdict is that it achieved little, partly because of Germany's unwontedly negative attitude, apparently arising from Chancellor Helmut Kohl's desire to avoid any action that might derail EMU. By contrast, others see the Treaty as significantly shifting responsibilities from the member states to the Community.

The Treaty's principal purpose was to create 'an area of freedom, security and justice' and to give the EU a say in 'fundamental rights'. The Schengen Agreement was incorporated into the acquis communautaire, partly through intergovernmental arrangements to abolish internal frontier controls and partly through transferring to the EU responsibility for immigration, external borders, visas and asylum (the UK and Ireland have certain opt-outs of limited effectiveness). New anti-discrimination rights were introduced and the Social Chapter, a protocol of the Maastricht Treaty, was relocated in the main body of the text of the Treaty of Rome. The Maastricht Treaty was amended to permit Community-level action against organised crime and EU fraud. To that end the role of Europol was strengthened, perhaps foreshadowing its emergence as a European FBI, and there was wording suggestive of an incipient harmonisation of criminal law, a matter of particular concern to the UK with its unique common law safeguards. As a result of these changes, the Justice and Home Affairs pillar of the Maastricht Treaty was renamed Police and Judicial Co-operation in Criminal Matters.

The Treaty dealt somewhat disjointedly with defence and foreign affairs, declaring the WEU to be an 'integral part' of the 'Common Foreign and Security Policy' while stating that NATO obligations were to be 'respected'. Majority voting in the Council of Ministers was extended in the field of foreign policy, but not defence. Glossing over the member states' divergent views on neutrality, NATO membership and the US military presence in Europe (not to mention specific issues such as the Balkan and Iraqi conflicts), the Treaty stipulated that policy questions should be resolved by the six-monthly presidency of the Union. The Commission was to be 'fully associated' with any 'common measures' in this area.

In the field of institutional reform, the Treaty attempted little beyond foreseeing a future reweighting of Council votes in favour of the more populous countries (in exchange for their giving up the right to two Commissioners each). The role of subsidiarity was codified, showing it as essentially strengthening the superiority of Community law over domestic law and precluding any return of powers to the nation state. The principle of 'respecting the national identities of member states' slipped down the list of priorities and the right of veto was reduced by the introduction of qualified majority voting into 16 new areas. The Treaty removed from national governments, after an interim period, their right of initiative to make proposals to the Council, which thereafter would accept proposals only from the Commission. The main beneficiary of the Treaty was the European Parliament, which gained extensive further powers of co-decision.

By permitting the flexible use of Community institutions, or 'closer co-operation', on the part of individual groups of states wishing to accelerate their own mutual integration, the Treaty for the first time condoned a two-speed Europe, albeit as a last resort. Nevertheless, there was no concession to the idea of a 'Europe of Nations'. Indeed, one remarkable clause would permit the European Council to suspend the voting rights of a member state considered to be guilty of contravention of the Treaty's 'fundamental principles of liberty'. Briefings indicated that this was intended as an emergency measure in the event of, for example, a coup d'état, but however impeccable the intention the clause appeared to challenge the essence of national sovereignty. (See also Common Foreign and Security Policy, Enlargement, Schengen Agreement and Variable geometry.)

Treaty of the Elysée

The 1963 Treaty of the Elysée, signed by President Charles de Gaulle and Chancellor Konrad Adenauer, marked a new chapter in Franco-German co-operation. The fundamental basis of the understanding was that each side would consult the other before reaching any major foreign policy decision. The pact was strengthened by the instinctive personal friendship of the two leaders. Nevertheless, in its early years, the Treaty barely survived profound differences of opinion over the shape of the Community, de Gaulle favouring a Europe of Nations without Britain, while Adenauer and Walter Hallstein favoured British entry and supranationalism. In subsequent years, the alliance has overcome sharp differences over NATO, free trade, GATT, German reunification, interest rate policy, nuclear testing and Bosnia; and in 1997 and 1998 it faced a new test over EMU as France disagreed with Germany about the direction of the future European Central Bank.

The reasons why Franco-German co-operation has remained such a powerful force are both institutional and political. Regular summit and ministerial meetings, youth exchanges and the creation of joint military and economic bodies give a formal structure to what is essentially a marriage of convenience. By pre-agreeing a position on all Community questions of importance, France has been able to lever its influence off Germany's economic weight, while Germany has been able to shelter behind French diplomacy to avoid the charge of attempted hegemony. Both nations routinely refer to their partnership as the driving force behind European integration.

With the departure of President François Mitterrand and Chancellor Helmut Kohl and their replacement by leaders who were more preoccupied with domestic issues, it seemed possible that the Franco-German axis might be less powerful at the start of the 21st century, especially as the influence of the UK and Spain increased. History, however, suggested that at the first sign of a threat to their joint predominance the two countries would move quickly to heal any rift between them and to reassert their will.

Treaty on European Union (TEU)

The 1992 Maastricht Treaty was formally entitled the Treaty on European Union. From the constitutional standpoint it came in two parts:

The 1997 Treaty of Amsterdam amended the Treaty on European Union and further amended the Treaty of Rome. It also added a new Title on 'closer co-operation', which was constitutionally important because it cut across the previously clear distinction between Community activities and intergovernmental relations. As a broad guide to this complex structure, the much revised Treaty of Rome, of which the judge and interpreter is the Court of Justice, constitutes the supranational institutional part of the EU governing EMU, the single market, the CAP, citizenship, free movement of persons, competition, social policy, employment, external trade, and so forth: whereas the remainder of the Treaty on European Union covers arrangements between governments, including foreign and security policy, police and judicial co-operation and the right of member states to integrate more closely without necessarily involving all the other member states. The Union today is essentially constituted by those Treaties together with the various national Accession Treaties. Given the furore which the Maastricht Treaty caused in 1992 and the extent of the subsequent alterations and additions made at Amsterdam, it is convenient to refer to the original Treaty as Maastricht, leaving the name Treaty on European Union to denote the consolidated and amended version, incorporating the Treaty of Rome. (See also Common Foreign and Security Policy, EMU, Justice and Home Affairs, Maastricht Treaty, Treaty of Amsterdam and Treaty of Rome.)

Treaty of Maastricht

See Maastricht Treaty and Treaty on European Union.

'Treaty of Nice'

After the Treaty of Amsterdam had failed to produce a revised decision-making structure adapted to the EU's forthcoming enlargement, preparations were made throughout 2000 to agree a new treaty by the end of the French presidency in the second half of the year. This treaty was provisionally entitled the 'Treaty of Nice'. Among the more radical proposals being considered were: the virtual elimination of the national veto; the creation of a written constitution superior to the sovereign powers of the nation states; the development of Europol as an EU police force; the final abandonment of internal border controls; an increase in the power of the European Parliament; the establishment of Europe-wide political parties contesting elections on pan-European lists; the harmonisation of national taxes, laws and judicial systems; and the introduction of a new EU tax levied directly by Brussels. While it was unlikely that many of these proposals would find their way undiluted into the 'Treaty of Nice' against the expected opposition of the UK and the Nordic member states, the fact that they were being made at all suggested that the EU was as bent on integration as ever. (See also Constitutionalisation.)

Treaty of Paris

The first of Europe's three founding Treaties, concluded in 1951 and establishing the European Coal and Steel Community. It is due to expire in July 2002.

Treaty of Rome (1)

Europe's seminal Treaty, signed in 1957 and second of the three founding Treaties to be concluded (the first was the 1951 Treaty of Paris; the third, also signed in 1957, was the Euratom Treaty), the Treaty of Rome established the European Economic Community (later to become the European Community). It was succeeded by various amending Treaties, three of which, the Single European Act of 1986, the Maastricht Treaty of 1992 and the Treaty of Amsterdam of 1997, significantly expanded its scope. The text of the Treaty of Rome is not, therefore, canonical, but is constantly changed to reflect new treaties. The Treaty itself is technically styled the Treaty establishing the European Community and its clauses are distinguished by the initials EC: thus 'Article 33 EC' refers to the CAP.

The Treaty of Rome makes up some three-quarters of the consolidated Treaty on European Union (TEU), into which it is now incorporated. Its provisions (unlike the intergovernmental parts of the TEU) are subject to the jurisdiction of the Court of Justice. The most important sections of the Treaty consist of: a statement of principles; then Articles on citizenship; free movement of goods; agriculture (the CAP); free movement of persons and capital; visa, asylum and immigration policy; competition, tax and legal harmonisation; EMU; the common commercial policy; social policy; health and safety; 'cohesion'; the environment; overseas aid; relations with ex-colonies of member states; decision-making procedures; and the budget. (See also Maastricht Treaty, Treaty of Amsterdam and Treaty on European Union.)

Treaty of Rome (2)

The Euratom Treaty, also signed in Rome in 1957.

Trichet, Jean-Claude (1942-)

One of the main architects of the franc fort, the policy of sustaining the French franc at a constant rate against the D-Mark, Jean-Claude Trichet became governor of the Banque de France in 1993 after serving in the Treasury. His tough anti-inflationary stance brought him into intermittent conflict with President Jacques Chirac. Nevertheless, in November 1997 France astonished the other EU member states by proposing him as a last-minute alternative candidate to Wim Duisenberg for the post of head of the European Central Bank (ECB). This démarche was widely assumed to reflect the French wish for political influence over the ECB, despite the Maastricht Treaty's insistence on its independence. The unofficial compromise whereby Trichet would succeed Duisenberg half-way through his term was thrown in doubt in 2000 when Trichet was accused of complicity in understating the scale of the disaster that had struck the Crédit Lyonnais in the early 1990s. (See also Crédit Lyonnais.)


Before the Treaty of Amsterdam, the troika consisted of the current presidency of the Council of Ministers, together with its immediate successor and predecessor, the point being to provide continuity to EU foreign policy. This was no easy matter, as was illustrated by the 1998 Iraqi crisis, when the presidency was held by the UK, which supported the USA in threatening the use of force against the dictator Saddam Hussein, while the previous incumbent was Luxembourg, which supported compromise, and the next one would be the neutralist Austria. The Treaty of Amsterdam reconstituted the troika to consist now of the Council presidency, the Commission president and the 'High Representative' of the Council - a step towards weakening the prerogatives of the member states in foreign and security affairs. (See also Common Foreign and Security Policy.)


Although a Muslim country, with all but a fraction of its territory in Asia, Turkey was westernised by Kemal Ataturk in the 1920s and has long aspired to join the EU. It joined the Council of Europe in 1949 and NATO, of which it soon became a key member, in 1952. In 1963 it concluded an Association Agreement with the Community. Until 1999, however, vehement Greek opposition and widespread concern over the country's approach to human rights and democracy combined to defer its EU application indefinitely. A negative recommendation by the Commission in 1989 also cited poverty (Turkey's GDP per head is a third that of the poorest member states), inflation (currently well over 50%) and the country's military occupation of part of Cyprus.

Against these obstacles, highlighted by Kurdish insurgency and a flow of refugees (there were over 2 million Turkish residents in Germany alone), were to be set Turkey's role as a strong and reliable military ally and a buffer state between the West and Central Asia and the Caucasus. Turkey might even serve as a model in the region of a successful secular Islamic state. Its generals might in due course be more than notionally accountable to elected government, and with greater prosperity - and greater acceptance by the EU - the problems of human rights should diminish. Moreover, there was a price to pay for rejection. Frustration at its continuing exclusion from the EU prompted Turkey in 1997 to threaten the withdrawal of its candidature, switch aircraft orders from Airbus to Boeing and hint ominously of integrating northern Cyprus into Turkey. Turkish feelings had been inflamed by German suggestions that the EU should remain a Christian club and by the fact that the country had been accepted into a customs union with the Community in 1993 and had met its obligations, whereas the Community, under Greek pressure, had not honoured its side of the bargain, which involved financial aid. Curiously, it took two earthquakes, in which rescue workers from Greece and Turkey worked side by side, to change the atmosphere. Moderates in both countries have been exploring ways to cool the countries' territorial disputes and historical hatreds, and by 2000 Turkey's candidature for the EU, although still remote, was no longer being blocked by Greece and was looking less forlorn than it had been for many years.


When two towns 'twin' with each other, the Commission makes cash available for joint projects in return for which it urges the mayors to swear an oath in favour of European unification. The suggested form of wording is:

We, the mayors of ...

Confident that we are responding to the deeply felt aspirations and real needs of our townspeople ... and believing that the work of history must be carried forward in a larger world ...

Give a solemn pledge

to foster exchanges ... in every area of life so as to develop a living sense of European kinship ...

And to join forces to help secure, to the utmost of our abilities, a successful outcome to this vital venture of peace and prosperity -

European Union

Two-speed Europe

See Variable geometry.

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