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Since its creation in 1957, the predominant goal of the European Community ("EC") has been economic: the establishment of a common market in Europe where goods, persons, services, and capital move freely. As a result of numerous legislative, judicial, and political decisions, the EC has made significant progress in achieving that goal. The process of integrating the different national markets, however, has in some ways forced and in other ways allowed the Community to broaden its focus to include other goals. The goal of environmental protection, for example, has become increasingly important in recent years, both on a Community and an international level. Nevertheless, pursuit of this new goal sets the stage for conflicts with the more established ideal of free trade and forces the Community to weigh these competing objectives.

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