Created in 1957 by the Treaty of Rome, the European Economic Community pursued the European construction efforts undertaken by the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC). The EEC's goals included economic cooperation, the gradual abolition of customs barriers between member countries and the introduction of common customs tariffs with other countries. Having 6 countries in 1957 (France, Federal Republic of Germany, Italy, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg), the EEC expanded in 1973 with the entrance of the United Kingdom, Ireland and Denmark; then in 1981 with that of Greece; and in 1986 with the entrance of Spain and Portugal.
In 1990, Germany was unified. For the EEC, this did not mean a new expansion, but an extension of the FRG. No membership procedure was necessary, but institutional modifications took the new influence of Germany into account. The EEC remained in place until 1 January 1993, with the application of the Maastricht Treaty (stipulating a single currency and European citizenship) : it then gave way to the European Union (EU).
The denomination "European Community" replaces "European Economic Community" since January 1st, 1993 (by the treaty of Maastricht in 1992).