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The European Community (EC) is the first of the three pillars of the European Union (EU) created under the Maastricht Treaty (1992). It is based upon the principle of supranationalism and has its origins in the European Economic Community, the predecessor of the European Union. When the Treaty of Lisbon comes into force on December 1, 2009, the EU's pillar structure will be abolished. This means that the European Community, and the other two pillars, will be merged and cease to exist as separate entities.