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The politico-legal body established by the Treaty of Rome in 1957, with the objective of creating a free trade area. In 1965, the Merger Treaty was signed, which had the effect of merging the governing institutions of the EEC with those of the ECSC and Euroatom. The resulting organization was called the 'European Communities', reflecting the fact that there were three distinct Communities under common administration, rather than one overarching 'Community'. The term was changed to European Community (singular) by the Treaty on European Union 1992 i.e. the Treaty of Maastricht.

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