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What was the significance of the Single European Act?

The Single European Act was significant as it laid the groundwork for the creation of a single European market.

The Single European Act (SEA), signed in 1986, was a major revision of the 1957 Treaty of Rome, which established the European Economic Community (EEC). The SEA was significant because it set the stage for the creation of a single European market, a concept that was revolutionary at the time. This meant that goods, services, people, and capital could move freely across the borders of the member states of the EEC, which later became the European Union (EU).

The SEA introduced qualified majority voting in the Council of Ministers on a range of issues, reducing the likelihood of a single country blocking progress. This was a significant shift away from the unanimity principle that had previously dominated decision-making in the EEC. The Act also formalised European Political Cooperation, which was the precursor to the EU's Common Foreign and Security Policy.

Moreover, the SEA expanded the powers of the European Parliament, marking a step towards greater democratisation of the EEC. It also introduced new policy areas into the EEC framework, such as environment, research and technology, thereby broadening the scope of European integration.

The SEA was also significant in that it set a deadline for the completion of the single market by 1992. This was a bold and ambitious target, which gave a clear direction to the European integration process. The Act also laid the groundwork for the Maastricht Treaty, which further deepened European integration by establishing the EU and paving the way for the creation of the euro.

In conclusion, the Single European Act was a landmark in the history of European integration. It was a major step towards the creation of a single European market, and it introduced important changes in the decision-making process and the policy scope of the EEC. The SEA was a clear indication of the member states' commitment to deeper integration, and it set the stage for the significant developments that were to follow in the European project.

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