13 January 1993

The Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) is signed.

Chemical Weapons Convention
Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction
CWC Participation.svg
Participation in the Chemical Weapons Convention
Drafted3 September 1992[1]
Signed13 January 1993[1]
LocationParis and New York[1]
Effective29 April 1997[1]
ConditionRatification by 65 states[2]
Parties193[1] (List of state parties)
Four UN states are not party: Egypt, Israel, North Korea and South Sudan.
DepositaryUN Secretary-General[3]
LanguagesArabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish[4]

The Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), officially the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction, is an arms control treaty administered by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), an intergovernmental organization based in The Hague, The Netherlands. The treaty entered into force on 29 April 1997, and prohibits the large-scale use, development, production, stockpiling and transfer of chemical weapons and their precursors, except for very limited purposes (research, medical, pharmaceutical or protective). The main obligation of member states under the convention is to effect this prohibition, as well as the destruction of all current chemical weapons. All destruction activities must take place under OPCW verification.

As of March 2021, 193 states have become parties to the CWC and accept its obligations. Israel has signed but not ratified the agreement, while three other UN member states (Egypt, North Korea and South Sudan) have neither signed nor acceded to the treaty.[1][5] Most recently, the State of Palestine deposited its instrument of accession to the CWC on 17 May 2018. In September 2013, Syria acceded to the convention as part of an agreement for the destruction of Syria's chemical weapons.[6][7]

As of February 2021, 98.39% of the world's declared chemical weapons stockpiles had been destroyed.[8] The convention has provisions for systematic evaluation of chemical production facilities, as well as for investigations of allegations of use and production of chemical weapons based on intelligence of other state parties.

Some chemicals which have been used extensively in warfare but have numerous large-scale industrial uses (such as phosgene) are highly regulated; however, certain notable exceptions exist. Chlorine gas is highly toxic, but being a pure element and extremely widely used for peaceful purposes, is not officially listed as a chemical weapon. Certain state-powers (e.g. the Assad regime of Syria) continue to regularly manufacture and implement such chemicals in combat munitions.[9] Although these chemicals are not specifically listed as controlled by the CWC, the use of any toxic chemical as a weapon (when used to produce fatalities solely or mainly through its toxic action) is in-and-of itself forbidden by the treaty. Other chemicals, such as white phosphorus,[10] are highly toxic but are legal under the CWC when they are used by military forces for reasons other than their toxicity.[citation needed]


The CWC augments the Geneva Protocol of 1925, which bans the use but not the development or possession of chemical and biological weapons.[11] The CWC also includes extensive verification measures such as on-site inspections, in stark contrast to the 1975 Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), which lacks a verification regime.[12]

After several changes of name and composition, the ENDC evolved into the Conference on Disarmament (CD) in 1984.[13] On 3 September 1992 the CD submitted to the U.N. General Assembly its annual report, which contained the text of the Chemical Weapons Convention. The General Assembly approved the convention on 30 November 1992, and the U.N. Secretary-General then opened the convention for signature in Paris on 13 January 1993.[14] The CWC remained open for signature until its entry into force on 29 April 1997, 180 days after the deposit at the UN by Hungary of the 65th instrument of ratification.[15]

Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)

Headquarters in The Hague

The convention is administered by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which acts as the legal platform for specification of the CWC provisions.[16] The Conference of the States Parties is mandated to change the CWC and pass regulations on implementation of CWC requirements. The Technical Secretariat of the organization conducts inspections to ensure compliance of member states. These inspections target destruction facilities (where permanent monitoring takes place during destruction), chemical weapons production facilities which have been dismantled or converted for civil use, as well as inspections of the chemical industry. The Secretariat may furthermore conduct "investigations of alleged use" of chemical weapons and give assistance after use of chemical weapons.

The 2013 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the organization because it had, with the Chemical Weapons Convention, "defined the use of chemical weapons as a taboo under international law" according to Thorbjørn Jagland, Chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee.[17][18]

Key points of the Convention

  • Prohibition of production and use of chemical weapons
  • Destruction (or monitored conversion to other functions) of chemical weapons production facilities
  • Destruction of all chemical weapons (including chemical weapons abandoned outside the state parties territory)
  • Assistance between State Parties and the OPCW in the case of use of chemical weapons
  • An OPCW inspection regime for the production of chemicals which might be converted to chemical weapons
  • International cooperation in the peaceful use of chemistry in relevant areas

Controlled substances

The convention distinguishes three classes of controlled substance,[19][20] chemicals that can either be used as weapons themselves or used in the manufacture of weapons. The classification is based on the quantities of the substance produced commercially for legitimate purposes. Each class is split into Part A, which are chemicals that can be used directly as weapons, and Part B, which are chemicals useful in the manufacture of chemical weapons. Separate from the precursors, the convention defines toxic chemicals as "[a]ny chemical which through its chemical action on life processes can cause death, temporary incapacitation or permanent harm to humans or animals. This includes all such chemicals, regardless of their origin or of their method of production, and regardless of whether they are produced in facilities, in munitions or elsewhere."[21]

  • Schedule 1 chemicals have few, or no uses outside chemical weapons. These may be produced or used for research, medical, pharmaceutical or chemical weapon defence testing purposes but production at sites producing more than 100 grams per year must be declared to the OPCW. A country is limited to possessing a maximum of 1 tonne of these materials. Examples are sulfur mustard and nerve agents, and substances which are solely used as precursor chemicals in their manufacture. A few of these chemicals have very small scale non-military applications, for example milligram quantities of nitrogen mustard are used to treat certain cancers.
  • Schedule 2 chemicals have legitimate small-scale applications. Manufacture must be declared and there are restrictions on export to countries that are not CWC signatories. An example is thiodiglycol which can be used in the manufacture of mustard agents, but is also used as a solvent in inks.
  • Schedule 3 chemicals have large-scale uses apart from chemical weapons. Plants which manufacture more than 30 tonnes per year must be declared and can be inspected, and there are restrictions on export to countries which are not CWC signatories. Examples of these substances are phosgene (the most lethal chemical weapon employed in WWI),[22] which has been used as a chemical weapon but which is also a precursor in the manufacture of many legitimate organic compounds (e.g. pharmaceutical agents and many common pesticides), and triethanolamine, used in the manufacture of nitrogen mustard but also commonly used in toiletries and detergents.

A treaty party may declare a "single small-scale facility" that produces up to 1 tonne of Schedule 1 chemicals for research, medical, pharmaceutical or protective purposes each year, and also another facility may produce 10 kg per year for protective testing purposes. An unlimited number of other facilities may produce Schedule 1 chemicals, subject to a total 10 kg annual limit, for research, medical or pharmaceutical purposes, but any facility producing more than 100 grams must be declared.[19][23]

The treaty also deals with carbon compounds called in the treaty "discrete organic chemicals", the majority of which exhibit moderate-high direct toxicity or can be readily converted into compounds with toxicity sufficient for practical use as a chemical weapon.[24] These are any carbon compounds apart from long chain polymers, oxides, sulfides and metal carbonates, such as organophosphates. The OPCW must be informed of, and can inspect, any plant producing (or expecting to produce) more than 200 tonnes per year, or 30 tonnes if the chemical contains phosphorus, sulfur or fluorine, unless the plant solely produces explosives or hydrocarbons.

Member states

Before the CWC came into force in 1997, 165 states signed the convention, allowing them to ratify the agreement after obtaining domestic approval.[1] Following the treaty's entry into force, it was closed for signature and the only method for non-signatory states to become a party was through accession. As of March 2021, 193 states, representing over 98 percent of the world's population, are party to the CWC.[1] Of the four United Nations member states that are not parties to the treaty, Israel has signed but not ratified the treaty, while Egypt, North Korea, and South Sudan have neither signed nor acceded to the convention. Taiwan, though not a member state, has confirmed that it complies with the treaty.[25]

Key organizations of member states

Member states are represented at the OPCW by their Permanent Representative. This function is generally combined with the function of Ambassador. For the preparation of OPCW inspections and preparation of declarations, member states have to constitute a National Authority.[citation needed]

World stockpile of chemical weapons

A total of 72,304 metric tonnes of chemical agent, and 97 production facilities have been declared to OPCW.[8]

Treaty deadlines

The treaty set up several steps with deadlines toward complete destruction of chemical weapons, with a procedure for requesting deadline extensions. No country reached total elimination by the original treaty date although several have finished under allowed extensions.[26]

Reduction Phases
Phase % Reduction Deadline Notes
I 1% April 2000  
II 20% April 2002 Complete destruction of empty munitions, precursor chemicals,
filling equipment and weapons systems
III 45% April 2004  
IV 100% April 2007 No extensions permitted past April 2012

Progress of destruction

At the end of 2019, 70,545 of 72,304 (97.51%) metric tonnes of chemical agent have been verifiably destroyed. More than 57% (4.97 million) of chemical munitions and containers have been destroyed.[27]

Seven State Parties, namely Albania, an unspecified state party (believed to be South Korea), India, Iraq, Libya, Russia and Syria have completed the destruction of their declared stockpiles. The United States is in the process of destruction and scheduled to complete in 2023.[28] The destruction of Libya's Category 1 chemical weapons was completed in 2014; destruction of its chemical weapon precursors was completed in November 2017.[29][30]

Japan and China in October 2010 began the destruction of World War II era chemical weapons abandoned by Japan in China by means of mobile destruction units and reported destruction of 35,203 chemical weapons (75% of the Nanjing stockpile).[28][31]

Country Date of accession/
entry into force
Declared stockpile
(Schedule 1) (tonnes)
% OPCW-verified destroyed
(date of full destruction)
Albania Albania 29 April 1997 17[32] 100% (July 2007)[32]
South Korea South Korea 29 April 1997 3,000–3,500[33] 100% (July 2008)[33]
India India 29 April 1997 1,044[34] 100% (March 2009)[35]
Libya Libya 5 February 2004 25[36] 100% (January 2014)[36]
Syria Syria (government held) 14 October 2013[37] 1,040[38] 100% (August 2014)[38]
Russia Russia 5 December 1997 40,000[39] 100% (September 2017)[40]
United States United States 29 April 1997 33,600[41] 91%[41] 29 April 2012 (intends by 2023)[42]
Iraq Iraq 12 February 2009 remnant munitions[43] 100% (March 2018)[44]
Japan Japan (in China) 29 April 1997 - ongoing 2022 (commitment)[45]

Iraqi stockpile

The U.N. Security Council ordered the dismantling of Iraq's chemical weapon stockpile in 1991. By 1998, UNSCOM inspectors had accounted for the destruction of 88,000 filled and unfilled chemical munitions, over 690 metric tons of weaponized and bulk chemical agents, approximately 4,000 tonnes of precursor chemicals, and 980 pieces of key production equipment.[46] The UNSCOM inspectors left in 1998.

In 2009, before Iraq joined the CWC, the OPCW reported that the United States military had destroyed almost 5,000 old chemical weapons in open-air detonations since 2004.[47] These weapons, produced before the 1991 Gulf War, contained sarin and mustard agents but were so badly corroded that they could not have been used as originally intended.[48]

When Iraq joined the CWC in 2009, it declared "two bunkers with filled and unfilled chemical weapons munitions, some precursors, as well as five former chemical weapons production facilities" according to OPCW Director General Rogelio Pfirter.[35] The bunker entrances were sealed with 1.5 meters of reinforced concrete in 1994 under UNSCOM supervision.[49] As of 2012, the plan to destroy the chemical weapons was still being developed, in the face of significant difficulties.[43][49] In 2014, ISIS took control of the site.[50]

On 13 March 2018, the Director-General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü, congratulated the Government of Iraq on the completion of the destruction of the country's chemical weapons remnants.[44]

Syrian destruction

Following the August 2013 Ghouta chemical attack,[51] Syria, which had long been suspected of possessing chemical weapons, acknowledged them in September 2013 and agreed to put them under international supervision.[52] On 14 September Syria deposited its instrument of accession to the CWC with the United Nations as the depositary and agreed to its provisional application pending entry into force effective 14 October.[53][54] An accelerated destruction schedule was devised by Russia and the United States on 14 September,[55] and was endorsed by United Nations Security Council Resolution 2118[56] and the OPCW Executive Council Decision EC-M-33/DEC.1.[57] Their deadline for destruction was the first half of 2014.[57] Syria gave the OPCW an inventory of its chemical weapons arsenal[58] and began its destruction in October 2013, 2 weeks before its formal entry into force, while applying the convention provisionally.[59][60] All declared Category 1 materials were destroyed by August 2014.[38] However, the Khan Shaykhun chemical attack in April 2017 indicated that undeclared stockpiles probably remained in the country. A chemical attack on Douma occurred on 7 April 2018 that killed at least 49 civilians with scores injured, and which has been blamed on the Assad government.[61][62][63]

Controversy arose in November 2019 over the OPCW's finding on the Douma chemical weapons attack when Wikileaks published emails by an OPCW staff member saying a report on this incident "misrepresents the facts" and contains "unintended bias". The OPCW staff member questioned the report's finding that OPCW's inspectors had "sufficient evidence at this time to determine that chlorine, or another reactive chlorine-containing chemical, was likely released from cylinders".[64] The staff member alleged this finding was "highly misleading and not supported by the facts" and said he would attach his own differing observations if this version of the report was released. On 25 November 2019, OPCW Director General Fernando Arias, in a speech to the OPCW's annual conference in The Hague, defended the Organization's report on the Douma incident, stating "While some of these diverse views continue to circulate in some public discussion forums, I would like to reiterate that I stand by the independent, professional conclusion" of the probe.[65]

Financial support for destruction

Financial support for the Albanian and Libyan stockpile destruction programmes was provided by the United States. Russia received support from a number of countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy and Canada; with some $2 billion given by 2004. Costs for Albania's program were approximately US$48 million. The United States has spent $20 billion and expected to spend a further $40 billion.[66]

Known chemical weapons production facilities

Fourteen states parties have declared chemical weapons production facilities (CWPFs):[27][67]

  • 1 non-disclosed state party (referred to as "A State Party" in OPCW-communications; said to be South Korea)[68]

Currently all 97 declared production facilities have been deactivated and certified as either destroyed (74) or converted (23) to civilian use.[27]

See also

Related international law

  • Australia Group of countries and the European Commission that helps member nations identify exports which need to be controlled so as not to contribute to the spread of chemical and biological weapons
  • 1990 US-Soviet Arms Control Agreement
  • General-purpose criterion, a concept in international law that broadly governs international agreements with respect to chemical weapons
  • Geneva Protocol, a treaty prohibiting the first use of chemical and biological weapons

Worldwide treaties for other types of weapons of mass destruction

Chemical weapons

Related remembrance day


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External links

1 November 1993

The Maastricht Treaty takes effect, formally establishing the European Union.

Treaty on European Union
GER — BY — Regensburg - Donaumarkt 1 (Museum der Bayerischen Geschichte; Vertrag von Maastricht) (cropped).JPG
The Treaty of Maastricht, here shown at an exhibition in Regensburg. The book is opened at a page containing the signatures and seals of the ministers representing the heads of state of Belgium, Denmark, Germany and Greece
TypeFounding treaty
Signed7 February 1992 (1992-02-07)
Effective1 November 1993
AmendmentTreaty of Amsterdam (1999)
Treaty of Nice (2003)
Treaty of Lisbon (2009)
SignatoriesEU member states
Consolidated version of the Treaty on European Union at Wikisource

The Maastricht Treaty, concluded in 1992 between the 12 member states of the European Communities, is the foundation treaty of the European Union (EU). Formally the Treaty on European Union, it announced "a new stage in the process of European integration"[1] chiefly in provisions for a shared European citizenship, for the eventual introduction of a single currency, and (with less precision) for common foreign and security policies. Although these were widely seen to presage a "federal Europe", the focus of constitutional debate shifted to the later 2007 Treaty of Lisbon. In the wake of the Eurozone debt crisis unfolding from 2009, the most enduring reference to the Maastricht Treaty has been to the rules of compliance – the "Maastricht criteria" – for the currency union.

Against the background of the end of the Cold War and the re-unification of Germany, and in anticipation of accelerated globalisation, the treaty negotiated tensions between member states seeking deeper integration and those wishing to retain greater national control. The resulting compromise faced what was to be the first in a series of EU treaty ratification crises.


Having "resolved to continue the process of creating an ever closer union among the peoples of Europe", the Treaty proposes "further steps to be taken in order to advance European integration"[2] under seven titles.

Title I, Common Provisions, establishes the European Union (EU) on the foundation of the three, already partially merged, European Communities: the European Economic Community (EEC), the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) and the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom). It confirms among its objectives are "the introduction of a citizenship of the Union" common to the nationals of the Member States; "economic and monetary union, ultimately including a single currency"; and "a common foreign and security policy including the eventual framing of a common defence".[3]

Title II, Provisions Amending the Treaty Establishing the European Economic Community, reformulates the EEC as the central "pillar" of the Union. It amends the EEC's Treaty of Rome constitution, renaming it the European Community to reflect the Union's broader ambition. Amendments incorporate (as detailed in attached protocols) a staged progression toward monetary union including the price-stability-first criteria for adoption of the single currency and for the operations of the prospective European Central Bank (ECB).

Other amendments create the office of European Ombudsman, expand the Structural Fund assistance to the poorer EU regions; and broaden Community competencies in education, culture, public health, consumer protection, trans-European networks, industry and the environment.

In these and other areas which do not fall within Community's "exclusive competence", in accordance with "the principle of subsidiarity" action is to be taken only if, "by reason of the scale or effects", the objectives cannot be more "efficiently" achieved by the Member States themselves.[4]

In several of these areas, the Treaty seeks to enhance the "democratic functioning" of the institutions by conceding the directly elected European Parliament rights not only of consultation but also of co-decision. It also grants the Parliament the power to confirm (and therefore to veto) Council nominations for the European Commission, the Community's secretariat.

Titles III and IV amend the treaties establishing the ECSC and Euratom to complete their absorption into the structure of European Community.

Title V and VI extend existing intergovernmental consultations on foreign-policy, security and defence matters, and on "cooperation in the fields of justice and home affairs." In both cases, Member States are to "inform and consult one another within the Council [of Ministers]",[5] but otherwise cooperate independently of Community institutions.

Title VII, Final Provisions, covers a number of anomalous issues. Provided that all Member States ratify, it rules that the Treaty should come into force on 1 January 1993.

Annexed to the Treaty is a Protocol, and an Agreement, on Social Policy. With a view to ensuring that the dynamic of the European Single Market respect certain minimum social and employment protections, these allow the Council of Ministers to approve relevant proposals from the European Commission on the basis of a qualified majority rather than unanimous consent.

The United Kingdom was not a party of the Agreement on Social Policy and secured an "opt out" from the protocol. It was to do the same with respect to the obligation to enter the final, single-currency, stage of monetary union (the UK would not have to give up Pound sterling).

Procedural history

Stone memorial in front of the entry to the Limburg Province government building in Maastricht, Netherlands, commemorating the signing of the Maastricht Treaty


In consequence of the Dutch Presidency of the Council of the European Communities during the previous six months of negotiation, the Treaty was signed in the Netherlands, in the city of Maastricht. The twelve members of the European Communities signing the Treaty on 7 February 1992 were Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Portugal, Spain, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.


The Treaty noted that it should be "ratified by the High Contracting Parties in accordance with their respective constitutional requirement".[6] In the cases of Denmark, France and Ireland this required referenda.[7]

In the first Danish referendum, on 2 June 1992, the treaty was rejected by a margin of 50.7% to 49.3%.[8] Concessions secured by the end of year in Edinburgh including, critically, the same exemption secured by Britain from the single currency (Denmark would not have to give up the krone), allowed for a second referendum. On 18 May 1993, Maastricht Treaty was endorsed by a vote of 56.7%.[9]

In Ireland, the Eleventh Amendment of the Constitution, allowing the state to ratify the Treaty, was approved in a referendum held on 18 June 1992 with the support of 69.1% of votes cast.

In September 1992, a referendum in France narrowly supported the ratification of the treaty, with 50.8% in favour. This narrow vote for ratification in France, known at the time as the 'petite oui', led Jacques Delors to comment that "Europe began as an elitist project in which it was believed that all that was required was to convince the decision-makers. That phase of benign despotism is over."[10]

In the United Kingdom parliament ratification did not command a clear majority. In protest against the social-policy opt out, Labour opposed, while "anti-federalists" split the governing Conservatives. Prime Minister John Major was able to face down his "Maastricht Rebels" only by tying ratification to the survival of the government in a vote of confidence.[11]

Citizenship of the European Union

From the establishment of the European Economic Community in 1957, integrationists argued the free movement of workers was the logical corollary of the free movement of capital, goods and services and integral to the establishment of a common (and later single) European market. In time, the tension between the transferred worker as "a mobile unit of production" contributing to the success of the single market, and the reality of the Community migrants as individuals, seeking to exercise "a personal right" to live and work in another state for their own, and their families', welfare, asserted itself.[12] The Treaty built on the growing suggestion that there was a Community-wide basis for citizenship rights.

The Treaty rules that "every person holding the nationality of a Member State shall be a citizen of the Union".[13] This common and parallel citizenship accords the Member State migrants not only the civil right to take up residence and employment, but also, and for the first time, political rights. In a new EU country of residence Member-State nationals have the right to vote, and to stand, in both local and European elections. Unresolved in the Treaty is the question of their access to social rights. Political debate continued as to who should have access to public services and welfare systems funded by taxation.[14]

Economic and monetary union

The ERM crises

In Britain the Maastricht rebellion drew on the experience of Black Wednesday. On 16 September 1992 the British government had been forced to withdraw the pound sterling from the European Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM), after a failed and costly attempt to keep the pound above its mandated exchange rate limit. Sterling's release from the ERM was then followed in the UK by an economic recovery and a significant fall in unemployment.[15] The ERM was the centrepiece of the European Monetary System (EMS), set up on voluntary basis in 1978 to reduce the "barrier" that exchange-rate volatility presented for intra-Community commerce (and for the management of payments under the Common Agricultural Policy).

Britain had signed up to the ERM in 1990 as a token of the government's commitment to control inflation (then running at three times the rate of Germany).[16] From the beginning of 1990, high German interest rates, set by the Bundesbank to counteract inflationary impact of the expenditure on German reunification, caused significant stress across the whole of the ERM. By the time of their own ratifications debates, France and Denmark also found themselves under pressure in foreign exchange markets, their currencies trading close to the bottom of their ERM bands.[17]

Franco-German agreement

Germany had considered a Deutschmark zone extending only to her more immediate and convergent neighbours: the Benelux countries and possibly Denmark.[18] But when asked in 1990 by German Chancellor Helmut Kohl to agree to German re-unification, French President François Mitterrand accepted only in the event Germany would abandon the Deutsche Mark and adopt a common currency. Without consulting with Karl Otto Pöhl, President of the Bundesbank, Kohl accepted the deal.[19][20]

Since being forced by speculation against the franc to abandon the centrepiece of his Socialist programme in 1983, a job creating reflation,[21] Mitterrand had been committed to drawing Germany into a currency partnership. However, the price of German cooperation was widely perceived as German dictation of the terms.[22]

The Maastricht criteria

Having "resolved to achieve the strengthening and the convergence and to establish an economic and monetary union including,... a single and stable currency",[23] the Treaty ruled that "Member States shall regard their economic policies as a matter of common concern", and that the obligations assumed should be a matter for "mutual surveillance."[24] Commonly known as the Maastricht criteria,[25][26] these obligations represented the performance thresholds for member states to progress toward the third stage of European Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), the adoption the common currency (designated at the 1995 Madrid European as the Euro).[27]

The four "convergence criteria", as detailed in attached protocols,[28][29] impose control over inflation, public debt and the public deficit, exchange rate stability and domestic interest rates. With limited leeway granted in exceptional circumstances, the obligations are to maintain:

1. Inflation at a rate no more than 1.5 percentage points higher than the average of the three best performing (lowest inflation) Member States;

2. a "budgetary position" that avoids "excessive" government deficits defined in ratios to gross domestic product (GDP) of greater than 3% for annual deficits and 60% for gross government debt;

3. the exchange rate of the national currency within "the normal fluctuation margins by the exchange-rate mechanism of the European Monetary System without severe tensions for at least the last two years"; and

4. nominal long-term interest rates no more than 2 percentage points higher than in the three Member States with the lowest inflation.

The European Central Bank mandate

These criteria in turn dictated the mandate of the European System of Central Banks comprising the national central banks, but to include the prospective currency-issuing European Central Bank. As envisaged by the Treaty,[30] the ECB replaced its shadow European Monetary Institute on 1 June 1998, and began exercising its full powers with the introduction of the euro on 1 January 1999.[31]

The Treaty dedicates the EU central banking system to price stability, and gives it "a degree of independence from elected officials" greater even "than that of its putative model, the German Bundesbank".[32] Whereas the Bundesbank, under article 12 of its constitution, is "bound to support the general economic policy of the [German] Federal Government", the obligation of the ECB to "support the general economic policies in the Community" is to be "without prejudice" to price stability, the Bank's "primary objective". It is further conditioned by the express understanding that "neither the ECB, nor a national central bank, nor any member of their decision-making bodies, shall seek or take instructions from Community institutions or bodies from any Government of a Member State or from any other body."[33]

Seeming to further preclude any possibility of the single-currency banking system being used to regulate European financial markets in support of expansionary – potentially inflationary – policies, the Treaty expressly prohibits the ECB or any Member State central extending "overdraft facilities or any other type of credit facility" to "Community institutions or bodies, central governments, regional, local or other public authorities, other bodies governed by public law, or public undertakings of Member States", or the purchase from them debt instruments.[34]

The Maastricht economic-policy model

In ruling out any role for the future ECB and euro in national, or Union-coordinated, reflationary policies Maastricht affirmed what by the late 1980s was the general economic-policy orthodoxy within the Community. This has been described as a "reversed Keynesianism": macro-economic policy not to secure a full-employment level of demand, but, through the restrictive control of monetary growth and public expenditure, to maintain price and financial market stability; micro economic policy, not to engineer income and price controls in support of fiscal expansion, but to encourage job creation by reducing barriers to lower labour costs.[32] The commitment to monetary union and the convergence criteria denied member states the resort to currency deflation to ease balance-of-payments constraints on domestic spending, and left labour market "flexibility" as the only means of coping with asymmetric economic shocks.[35]

These constraints were to become the focus of political scrutiny and public protest in the new-century European debt crisis. Beginning in 2009 with Greece, the governments of several Euro-zone countries (Portugal, Ireland, Spain and Cyprus) declared themselves unable to repay or refinance their government debt or to bail out over-indebted banks without assistance from third parties. The "austerity" they had subsequently to impose as a condition of assistance from Germany and other of their trade-surplus EU partners, raised calls for new arrangements to better manage payment imbalances between member states, and ease the burden of adjustment upon wage-, and benefit-, dependent households. Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis credited the Maastricht criteria with framing of a union of deflation and unemployment.[36]

Taking issue in defence of the Maastricht criteria, German finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble argued that "the old way to stimulate growth will not work." There is a real "moral hazard" in allowing Member States to accumulate higher debts within the Eurozone – higher debts which, ultimately, have no relationship to higher growth. The Maastricht criteria, he insisted, were correct in placing the onus for growth on "competitiveness, structural reforms, investment, and sustainable financing".[37]  

Foreign and security policy, justice and home affairs

Set alongside the European Community, the cooperation proposed in the Maastricht Treaty on foreign and security policy, and on justice and home affairs, were characterised in official commentary as the second and third "pillars" of the Union.[38] The Treaty, however, proposed no significant departures in these areas. Coordination in foreign and security policy had taken place since the beginning of the 1970s under the name of European Political Cooperation (EPC), which had been first written into the treaties by the 1987 Single European Act. Cooperation on law enforcement, criminal justice, asylum, and immigration and other judicial matters was being pursued under the 1990 Schengen Agreement and Convention.

The new provisions called on governments to "inform and consult one another within the Council [of Ministers]]",[39] but otherwise continued cooperation on the basis of intergovernmental liaison outside of the EC and its institutions. The West European Union, an until recently moribund club within NATO, is described as "an integral part of the development of the Union", and asked it to help "elaborate and implement decisions and actions of the Union which have defence implications.[40] Yet it is clear that nothing is to be construed as systematically constraining the foreign or defence policies of the individual Member States. "Failing a Council decision", which would require unanimity, a Member State is free to take such action as it considers "necessary".[41] This, in part, was a concession to United Kingdom which continued to insist on the sufficiency of the North Atlantic alliance (supported by the neutral, non-aligned, Member States, the Republic of Ireland and Austria, at the 1997 Amsterdam summit the UK prevented a merger of the WEU and the EU),[42][43]

Subsidiarity and co-decision

As an implicit presumption subsidiarity may have been considered a check upon the supranational development of the EEC. But in making it an explicit constitutional principle the Maastricht Treaty opened up "debates about whether this strengthened the states, regions or local government vis-à-vis the EU or vice versa".[44] Subsidiarity can be read as a federalising principle. For every endeavour it poses the question of whether national or Community policy is the most effective means, and elevates simple utility above any deference to national or local feeling.

Sceptics note that the Treaty offers no legally actionable definition of subsidiarity. Rather there are "a series of tentative indications for Community action in a document full of imprecise concepts: 'sufficiently', 'better achieved', 'what is necessary', 'to achieve the objectives', subjective notions which leave the way wide open for interpretation or practical developments."[45] Jacques Santer, Prime Minister of Luxembourg, conceded that consensus around the principle of subsidiarity had been possible only because "it conceals different interpretations".[46]

The 1992 Treaty may have introduced a more consequential constitutional principle in its promotion "co-decision". It introduced procedures that made the European Parliament "co-legislator with the Council of Ministers" and have since have since been developed and extended to nearly all areas where the Council decides by qualified majority voting. The "foundations of co-decision in the Maastricht Treaty" have led to the "trialogues" involving the European Parliament, Council and Commission, which have become standard legislative practice.[44]

Amending Treaties

In establishing the European Union the Maastricht Treaty amended the treaties that had established the European Communities in the 1950s. Following the EU accessions of Austria, Finland, and Sweden, it was in turn amended by the treaties of Amsterdam (1997), and Nice (2001). Following the accession of a further twelve states, ten from the former Eastern Bloc – Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia – plus Cyprus and Malta, and an aborted Treaty on a European Constitution, Maastricht was more comprehensively revisited. The 2007 Lisbon amends and incorporates the Maastricht Treaty as the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.


Since the end of World War II, sovereign European countries have entered into treaties and thereby co-operated and harmonised policies (or pooled sovereignty) in an increasing number of areas, in the so-called European integration project or the construction of Europe (French: la construction européenne). The following timeline outlines the legal inception of the European Union (EU)—the principal framework for this unification. The EU inherited many of its present responsibilities from the European Communities (EC), which were founded in the 1950s in the spirit of the Schuman Declaration.

  S: signing
  F: entry into force
  T: termination
  E: expiry
    de facto supersession
  Rel. w/ EC/EU framework:
   de facto inside
                  Flag of Europe.svg European Union (EU) [Cont.]  
Flag of Europe.svg European Communities (EC) (Pillar I)
European Atomic Energy Community (EAEC or Euratom) [Cont.]      
Flag of the European Coal and Steel Community 6 Star Version.svg / Flag of the European Coal and Steel Community 9 Star Version.svg / Flag of the European Coal and Steel Community 10 Star Version.svg / Flag of the European Coal and Steel Community 12 Star Version.svg European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC)  
    European Economic Community (EEC)    
            Schengen Rules European Community (EC)
'TREVI' Justice and Home Affairs (JHA, pillar II)  
  Flag of NATO.svg North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) [Cont.] Police and Judicial Co-operation in Criminal Matters (PJCC, pillar II)
Flag of France.svg Flag of the United Kingdom.svg
Anglo-French alliance
[Defence arm handed to NATO] European Political Co-operation (EPC)   Common Foreign and Security Policy
(CFSP, pillar III)
Flag of the Western Union.svg Western Union (WU) Flag of the Western European Union (1993-1995).svg / Flag of the Western European Union.svg Western European Union (WEU) [Tasks defined following the WEU's 1984 reactivation handed to the EU]
[Social, cultural tasks handed to CoE] [Cont.]                
    Flag of Europe.svg Council of Europe (CoE)
Dunkirk Treaty¹
S: 4 March 1947
F: 8 September 1947
E: 8 September 1997
Brussels Treaty¹
S: 17 March 1948
F: 25 August 1948
T: 30 June 2011
London and Washington treaties¹
S: 5 May/4 April 1949
F: 3 August/24 August 1949
Paris treaties: ECSC and EDC
S: 18 April 1951/27 May 1952
F: 23 July 1952/—
E: 23 July 2002/—
Rome treaties: EEC² and EAEC
S: 25 March 1957
F: 1 January 1958
WEU-CoE agreement¹
S: 21 October 1959
F: 1 January 1960
Brussels (Merger) Treaty³
S: 8 April 1965
F: 1 July 1967
Davignon report
S: 27 October 1970
Single European Act (SEA)
S: 17/28 February 1986
F: 1 July 1987
Schengen Treaty and Convention
S: 14 June 1985/19 June 1990
F: 26 March 1995
Maastricht Treaty²,
S: 7 February 1992
F: 1 November 1993
Amsterdam Treaty
S: 2 October 1997
F: 1 May 1999
Nice Treaty
S: 26 February 2001
F: 1 February 2003
Lisbon Treaty
S: 13 December 2007
F: 1 December 2009
¹Although not EU treaties per se, these treaties affected the development of the EU defence arm, a main part of the CFSP. The Franco-British alliance established by the Dunkirk Treaty was de facto superseded by WU. The CFSP pillar was bolstered by some of the security structures that had been established within the remit of the 1955 Modified Brussels Treaty (MBT). The Brussels Treaty was terminated in 2011, consequently dissolving the WEU, as the mutual defence clause that the Lisbon Treaty provided for EU was considered to render the WEU superfluous. The EU thus de facto superseded the WEU.
²The treaties of Maastricht and Rome form the EU's legal basis, and are also referred to as the Treaty on European Union (TEU) and the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), respectively. They are amended by secondary treaties.
³The European Communities obtained common institutions and a shared legal personality (i.e. ability to e.g. sign treaties in their own right).
⁴Between the EU's founding in 1993 and consolidation in 2009, the union consisted of three pillars, the first of which were the European Communities. The other two pillars consisted of additional areas of cooperation that had been added to the EU's remit.
⁵The consolidation meant that the EU inherited the European Communities' legal personality and that the pillar system was abolished, resulting in the EU framework as such covering all policy areas. Executive/legislative power in each area was instead determined by a distribution of competencies between EU institutions and member states. This distribution, as well as treaty provisions for policy areas in which unanimity is required and qualified majority voting is possible, reflects the depth of EU integration as well as the EU's partly supranational and partly intergovernmental nature.
⁶Plans to establish a European Political Community (EPC) were shelved following the French failure to ratify the Treaty establishing the European Defence Community (EDC). The EPC would have combined the ECSC and the EDC.

See also


  1. ^ Council of European Communities, Commission of the European Communities (1992). Treaty on European Union (PDF). Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities. p. 2. ISBN 92-824-0959-7.
  2. ^ TEU pp.3-4
  3. ^ TEU pp.3-4
  4. ^ TEU pp. 13-14
  5. ^ TEU pp. 124, 134
  6. ^ TEU p. 139
  7. ^ Parsons, Craig (2006). A Certain Idea of Europe. Cornell University Press. p.202. ISBN 978-0-8014-4086-1
  8. ^ Havemann, Joel (4 June 1992). "EC Leaders at Sea Over Danish Rejection: Europe: Vote against Maastricht Treaty blocks the march to unity. Expansion plans may also be in jeopardy". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 7 December 2011.
  9. ^ "In Depth: Maastricht Treaty". BBC News. 30 April 2001. Retrieved 4 May 2013.
  10. ^ Anell, Lars (2014). Democracy in Europe – An essay on the real democratic problem in the European Union. p.23. Forum för EU-Debatt.
  11. ^ Goodwin, Stephen (23 July 1993). "The Maastricht Debate: Major 'driven to confidence factor': Commons Exchanges: Treaty issue 'cannot fester any longer'". The Independent. London. Retrieved 4 May 2013.
  12. ^ See P Craig and G de Burca, European Union Law (2003) 701,
  13. ^ TEU p. 15
  14. ^ JHH Weiler, ‘The European Union belongs to its citizens: Three immodest proposals’ (1997) 22 European Law Review 150
  15. ^ Davis, Evan (15 September 2002). "Lessons learned on 'Black Wednesday'". BBC News.
  16. ^ 1990–1992: Britain and the politics of the European exchange rate mechanism. Libcom (13 January 2006). Retrieved 27 September 2020.
  17. ^ Aykens, Peter. Conflicting Authorities: States, Currency Markets and the ERM Crisis of 1992–93. Review of International Studies, Vol. 28, No. 2 (Apr. 2002), pp. 359–380. Retrieved 21 October 2019.
  18. ^ Abbey, Michael; Bromfield, Nicholas (1994). "A Practitioner's Guide to the Maastricht Treaty". Michigan Journal of International Law. 15 (4): 1335. Retrieved 21 September 2020.
  19. ^ spiegel.de: Mitterrand forderte Euro als Gegenleistung für die Einheit; spiegel.de 27. April 1998: Dunkelste Stunden. – Der Kanzler öffnet die Akten über die deutsche Einheit. Die Dokumente zeigen: Frankreich hat das schnelle Ende der Mark erzwungen.; spiegel.de 2. März 1998: Weg ohne Wiederkehr. – Hinter der Fassade ihrer deutsch-französischen Freundschaft haben Helmut Kohl und François Mitterrand erbittert um Einheit und Euro gerungen, wie jetzt neue Dokumente aus dem Kanzleramt zeigen.
  20. ^ spiegel.de 8. May 2012: Operation Self-Deceit: New Documents Shine Light on Euro Birth Defects
  21. ^ Lombard, Marc (April 1995). "A re-examination of the reasons for the failure of Keynesian expansionary policies in France, 1981–1983". Cambridge Journal of Economics. 19 (2): 359–372. doi:10.1093/oxfordjournals.cje.a035318.
  22. ^ Sutton, Michael (January 1993). "France and the Maastricht Design". The World Today. 49 (1): 4–8. JSTOR 40396436. Retrieved 29 September 2020.
  23. ^ TUE p. 3
  24. ^ TUE p. 25
  25. ^ "The IMF & the European Economic and Monetary Union - Factsheet". www.imf.org. Retrieved 16 July 2020.
  26. ^ "The Maastricht convergence criteria". www.nbb.be. Retrieved 16 July 2020.
  27. ^ "Madrid European Council (12/95): Conclusions". European Parliament. Retrieved 28 September 2020.
  28. ^ TEU 183-186
  29. ^ EUR-Lex. "Document 12008E121". eur-lex.europa.eu. Publications Office of the European Union. Retrieved 21 September 2020.
  30. ^ TEU p. 190
  31. ^ "ECB: Economic and Monetary Union". ECB. Retrieved 28 September 2020.
  32. ^ a b McDowell, Manfred (1994). "European Labour in a Single Market: '1992' and the Implications of Maastricht". History of European Ideas. 19 (1–3): 453–459, 455–456. doi:10.1016/0191-6599(94)90247-X. Retrieved 13 September 2020.
  33. ^ TEU, pp. 29, 31
  34. ^ TEU, p. 26
  35. ^ Tsoukalis, Loukas (1997). Tsoukalis, L (19The New European Economy Revisited: the Politics and Economics of Integration. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 15. ISBN 978-0-19-877477-8.
  36. ^ Varoufakis, Yanis (2017). The Weak Suffer What They Must: Europe's Crisis and America's Economic Future. New York: Avalon Publishing Group. ISBN 978-1-56858-599-4.
  37. ^ Schäuble, Wolfgang. "Wolfgang Schäuble: "Europe will only work if the rules are the same for smaller and bigger member states"". blogs.lse.ac.uk. London School of Economics (LSE). Retrieved 29 September 2020.
  38. ^ Sokolska, Ina. "The Maastricht and Amsterdam Treaties. Fact Sheets on the European Union - 2020" (PDF). europarl.europa. European Parliament. Retrieved 28 September 2020.
  39. ^ TEU p.124
  40. ^ TEU p. 126
  41. ^ TEU p. 125
  42. ^ Select Committee on Defence. "The European Security and Defence Identity: NATO and the WEU (19 April 1999)". parliament.uk. United Kingdom Parliament. Retrieved 29 September 2020.
  43. ^ "What happens to our neutrality when the chips are down?". Irish Times. 29 September 1998. Retrieved 29 September 2020.
  44. ^ a b Christiansen, Thomas; Duke, Simon (2016). The Maastricht Treaty: Second Thoughts after 20 Years. London: Routledge. p. 6-8. ISBN 978-1-134-90701-4. Retrieved 29 September 2020.
  45. ^ Steering Committee on Local and Regional Authorities (CDLR) (1998). Definition and Limits of the Principle of Subsidiarity. Council of Europe. p. 8.
  46. ^ Jacques Santer, Prime Minister of Luxembourg. Introduction to the Jacques Delors Colloquium 1991: "Subsidiarity: the challenge of change" organised by the European Institute of Public Administration at Maastricht, 21 and 22 March 1991, p. 32.

Further reading

External links

Works related to Consolidated version of the Treaty on European Union at Wikisource

24 April 1993

An IRA bomb explodes in the Bishopsgate area of London.

A powerful bomb was planted in a stolen truck outside 99 Bishopsgate, exploding on Saturday 24 April 1993, killing one person and wounding another 44.

Today the City of London Police have released new images showing the extent of the damage caused by the bomb.

It destroyed a nearby church and severely damaged Liverpool Street Station and the NatWest Tower. It is estimated that the cleanup operation cost more than £350m.

Ed Henty, a photographer for News of the World, was killed after he rushed to the scene.

However it is thought that the number of fatalities would have been much higher if it had taken place on a weekday.

Following the incident, coming just a year after the bombing of the Baltic Exchange, the City of London Police implemented a ‘ring of steel’ in July 1993. Most routes into the City were closed or made exit-only, and the remaining routes had checkpoints manned by police officers 24 hours a day.

24 March 1993

The Comet Shoemaker–Levy 9 is first discovered.

In this striking image we see the comet fragments of Shoemaker-Levy 9.

Comet Shoemaker–Levy 9 was a comet that broke apart in July 1992 and collided with Jupiter in July 1994, providing the first direct observation of an extraterrestrial collision of Solar System objects. This generated a large amount of coverage in the popular media, and the comet was closely observed by astronomers worldwide. The collision provided new information about Jupiter and highlighted its possible role in reducing space debris in the inner Solar System.

The comet was discovered by astronomers Carolyn and Eugene M. Shoemaker and David Levy in 1993. Shoemaker–Levy 9 had been captured by Jupiter and was orbiting the planet at the time. It was located on the night of March 24 in a photograph taken with the 46 cm Schmidt telescope at the Palomar Observatory in California. It was the first comet observed to be orbiting a planet, and had probably been captured by Jupiter around 20–30 years earlier.

Calculations showed that its unusual fragmented form was due to a previous closer approach to Jupiter in July 1992. At that time, the orbit of Shoemaker–Levy 9 passed within Jupiter’s Roche limit, and Jupiter’s tidal forces had acted to pull apart the comet. The comet was later observed as a series of fragments ranging up to 2 km in diameter. These fragments collided with Jupiter’s southern hemisphere between July 16 and 22, 1994 at a speed of approximately 60 km/s or 216,000 km/h. The prominent scars from the impacts were more easily visible than the Great Red Spot and persisted for many months.

While conducting a program of observations designed to uncover near-Earth objects, the Shoemakers and Levy discovered Comet Shoemaker–Levy 9 on the night of March 24, 1993 in a photograph taken with the 0.46 m Schmidt telescope at the Palomar Observatory in California. The comet was thus a serendipitous discovery, but one that quickly overshadowed the results from their main observing program.

Comet Shoemaker–Levy 9 was the ninth periodic comet discovered by the Shoemakers and Levy, hence its name. It was their eleventh comet discovery overall including their discovery of two non-periodic comets, which use a different nomenclature. The discovery was announced in IAU Circular 5725 on March 27, 1993.

The discovery image gave the first hint that comet Shoemaker–Levy 9 was an unusual comet, as it appeared to show multiple nuclei in an elongated region about 50 arcseconds long and 10 arcseconds wide. Brian G. Marsden of the Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams noted that the comet lay only about 4 degrees from Jupiter as seen from Earth, and that although this could of course be a line of sight effect, its apparent motion in the sky suggested that it was physically close to it. Because of this, he suggested that the Shoemakers and David Levy had discovered the fragments of a comet that had been disrupted by Jupiter’s gravity.

Orbital studies of the new comet soon revealed that it was orbiting Jupiter rather than the Sun, unlike all other comets known at the time. Its orbit around Jupiter was very loosely bound, with a period of about 2 years and an apoapsis of 0.33 astronomical units. Its orbit around the planet was highly eccentric.

Tracing back the comet’s orbital motion revealed that it had been orbiting Jupiter for some time. It is likely that it was captured from a solar orbit in the early 1970s, although the capture may have occurred as early as the mid-1960s. Several other observers found images of the comet in precovery images obtained before March 24, including Kin Endate from a photograph exposed on March 15, S. Otomo on March 17, and a team led by Eleanor Helin from images on March 19. No precovery images dating back to earlier than March 1993 have been found. Before the comet was captured by Jupiter, it was probably a short-period comet with an aphelion just inside Jupiter’s orbit, and a perihelion interior to the asteroid belt.

The volume of space within which an object can be said to orbit Jupiter is defined by Jupiter’s Hill sphere. When the comet passed Jupiter in the late 1960s or early 1970s, it happened to be near its aphelion, and found itself slightly within Jupiter’s Hill sphere. Jupiter’s gravity nudged the comet towards it. Because the comet’s motion with respect to Jupiter was very small, it fell almost straight toward Jupiter, which is why it ended up on a Jove-centric orbit of very high eccentricity—that is to say, the ellipse was nearly flattened out.

The comet had apparently passed extremely close to Jupiter on July 7, 1992, just over 40,000 km above its cloud tops—a smaller distance than Jupiter’s radius of 70,000 km, and well within the orbit of Jupiter’s innermost moon Metis and the planet’s Roche limit, inside which tidal forces are strong enough to disrupt a body held together only by gravity. Although the comet had approached Jupiter closely before, the July 7 encounter seemed to be by far the closest, and the fragmentation of the comet is thought to have occurred at this time. Each fragment of the comet was denoted by a letter of the alphabet, from “fragment A” through to “fragment W”, a practice already established from previously observed broken-up comets.

More exciting for planetary astronomers was that the best orbital calculations suggested that the comet would pass within 45,000 km of the center of Jupiter, a distance smaller than the planet’s radius, meaning that there was an extremely high probability that SL9 would collide with Jupiter in July 1994. Studies suggested that the train of nuclei would plow into Jupiter’s atmosphere over a period of about five days.

24 April 1993

An IRA bomb explodes in the Bishopsgate area of London.

The Bishopsgate bombing occurred on 24 April 1993, when the Provisional Irish Republican Army detonated a powerful truck bomb on Bishopsgate, a major thoroughfare in London’s financial district, the City of London. Telephoned warnings were sent about an hour beforehand, but a news photographer was killed in the blast and 44 people were injured, with fatalities only minimised due to it occurring on a Saturday. The blast destroyed the nearby St Ethelburga’s church and wrecked Liverpool Street station and the NatWest Tower. The financial cost was severe, estimated at the time to be over £1 billion of damage, making it the costliest terrorist attack at the time.

As a result of the bombing, which happened just over a year after the bombing of the nearby Baltic Exchange, a “ring of steel” was implemented to protect the City, and many firms introduced disaster recovery plans in case of further attacks or similar disasters. £350 million was spent on repairing damage. In 1994 detectives believed they know the identities of the IRA bombers, but lacked sufficient evidence to arrest them.

In March 1993, an Iveco tipper truck was stolen in Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire, and repainted from white to dark blue. A 1 tonne ANFO bomb made by the IRA’s South Armagh Brigade had been smuggled into England and was placed in the truck, hidden underneath a layer of tarmac. At about 9 am on 24 April, two volunteers from an IRA active service unit drove the truck containing the bomb onto Bishopsgate. They parked the truck outside 99 Bishopsgate, which was then the Hongkong and Shanghai Bank, located by the junction with Wormwood Street and Camomile Street, and left the area in a car driven by an accomplice. A series of telephone warnings were then sent from a phonebox in Forkhill, County Armagh, Northern Ireland, with the caller using a recognised IRA codeword and stating “a massive bomb… clear a wide area”. The first warnings were sent about one hour before the bomb detonated. Two police officers were already making inquiries into the truck when the warnings were received, and police began evacuating the area.

An Iveco tipper truck, the type used to carry the bomb
The bomb exploded at 10:27 am, causing extensive damage to buildings along a significant stretch of Bishopsgate. The blast raised a mushroom cloud that could be seen across much of London and gouged a 15-foot wide crater in the street. Buildings up to 500 metres away were damaged, with 1,500,000 sq ft of office space being affected and over 500 tonnes of glass broken. The NatWest Tower — at the time the City’s tallest skyscraper – was amongst the structures badly damaged, with many windows on the east side of the tower destroyed; the Daily Mail said “black gaps punched its fifty-two floors like a mouth full of bad teeth”. Damage extended as far north as Liverpool Street station and south beyond Threadneedle Street. St Ethelburga’s church, seven metres away from the bomb, collapsed as a result of the explosion. The cost of repair was estimated at the time at £1 billion. Civilian casualties were low as it was a Saturday morning and the City was typically occupied by only a small number of residents, office workers, security guards, builders, and maintenance staff. Forty-four people were injured by the bomb and News of the World photographer Ed Henty was killed after ignoring police warnings and rushing to the scene. The truck-bomb produced the explosive power of 1,200 kg of TNT.