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European Communities (EC) the common term for the EUROPEAN COAL AND STEEL COMMUNITY (itself no longer in existence), EURATOM and the EUROPEAN ECONOMIC COMMUNITY. They share many common bodies and institutions. The Communities, having expanded beyond the scope of the original treaties, are now known as the EUROPEAN UNION as a result of the European Union Treaty. See COURT OF JUSTICE, COURT OF AUDITORS, COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE, COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION, COMMISSION OF THE EUROPEAN UNION, EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT, COREPER, EUROPEAN COUNCIL.