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The work of the Assembly is prepared by parliamentary committees. The Joint Committee, consisting of the Committee of Ministers and representatives of the Assembly, harmonises relations between the two organs. The European Convention on Human Rights, signed in 1950, set up special machinery to guarantee internationally fundamental rights and freedoms. A European Commission investigates alleged violations of the Convention submitted to it either by States or, in most cases, by individuals. Its findings can then be examined by the European Court of 56 Council of Europe Human Rights (established in 1959), whose obligatory jurisdiction has been recognised by twelve states, or by the Committee of Ministers, empowered to take binding decisions by two-thirds majority vote.

As the Middle Ages proceeded, France became a unitary and self-conscious nation and the universalist, Imperial idea shifted to Germany and Italy. The Holy Roman Empire, which disappeared so swiftly after Charlemagne, was recreated by a German dynasty and became an elective office of great prestige but little actual power. From the fourteenth century the office became the preserve of a single family, the Habsburgs. Unyielding loyalty to the Papacy, successful dynastic marriages and diplomatic skill gave the Habsburgs, by the sixteenth century, an unrivalled position in Europe.

She also agreed that the compensatory amounts fixed in July 1972 were no longer applicable in the light of the rapid rise in world prices and that these amounts should be reduced to approximately the level of the Community's levy on imports from third countries. This ensured that, if world cereal prices eased, prices in the United Kingdom would also go down. Pigmeat A serious conflict of views developed betweeen Denmark and the United Kingdom, since the former sought the highest possible compensatory amounts for her large bacon exports to the United Kingdom in place of the high national subsidies for pig-farmers which Denmark was committed to abolishing upon accession, while the United Kingdom was concerned to balance the consumers' interests with the need for some measure of protection for United Kingdom pigmeat producers and therefore favoured lower compensatory amounts.

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