six countries sign a treaty to run their heavy industries – coal and steel – under a common management. In this way, none can on its own make the weapons of war to turn against the other, as in the past. The six are Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg.
creating the European Economic Community (EEC), or ‘ common market ’. The idea is for people, goods and services to move freely across borders.
a deal to help 18 former colonies in Africa. By 2005, it has a special partnership with 78 countries in Africa, the Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) regions.
It asks not to create new obstacles to intra-Community trade when they adopt laws and regulations of a technical nature.
in the Community To adopt the principle of the added-value tax system and to approve the first medium-term economic policy programme defining and fixing the aims of the economic policy of the Community for the years ahead.
dates from 1970. To maintain monetary stability, EU members decide to allow their currencies to fluctuate against each other only within narrow limits. This exchange rate mechanism (ERM), created in 1972, is a first step towards the introduction of the euro, 30 years later.
when Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom formally enter the EU
Previously they were delegated by national parliaments. Members sit in pan-European political groups (Socialist, Conservative, Liberal, Greens, etc.) and not in national delegations. The influence of the Parliament is constantly increasing
To stay in the forefront of innovation, the EU adopts the ‘Esprit’ programme in 1984 as the first of many research and development programmes it has since funded.
Bringing membership to 12
The main obstacles are differences in national regulations. The Single European Act of 1986 launches a vast six-year programme to sort these out. The Act also gives the European Parliament more say and strengthens EU powers in environmental
It is a major EU milestone, setting clear rules for the future single currency as well as for foreign and security policy and closer cooperation in justice and home affairs. Under the treaty, the name ‘European Union’ officially replaces ‘European Community’
the free movement of goods, services, people and money is now reality. More than 200 laws have been agreed since 1986 covering tax policy, business regulations, professional qualifications and other barriers to open frontiers. The free movement of some services is delayed.
(joined by Greece in 2001) for commercial and financial transactions only. Notes and coins will come later. The euro countries are Belgium, Germany, Greece, Spain, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Austria, Portugal and Finland. Denmark, Sweden and the United Kingdom decide to stay out for the time being
firstly in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and then in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In both cases, EU-led forces replace NATO units. Internally, the EU agrees to create an area of freedom, security and justice for all citizens by 2010.
It is designed to streamline democratic decision-making and management in an EU of 25 and more countries. It also creates the post of a European Foreign Minister. It has to be ratified by all 25 countries before it can come into force. When citizens in both France and the Netherlands voted 'No' to the Constitution in referendums in 2005, EU leaders declared a "period of reflection".
which amends the previous Treaties. It is designed to make the EU more democratic, efficient and transparent, and thereby able to tackle global challenges such as climate change, security and sustainable development. The Treaty of Lisbon is ratified by all EU countries before entering into force on 1 December 2009.
agree to deeper fiscal consolidation, stronger economic coordination and budgetary surveillance to defend the euro.
(EU laws only applying in some EU countries initially) is used for the first time, as the European Council agrees on the rights of international couples living within the EU to choose which country’s rules apply should they decide to separate.
a new treaty on stability, coordination and governance in the economic and monetary union is agreed by all EU countries with the exception of the Czech Republic and the United Kingdom. The treaty aims to strengthen fiscal discipline through automatic sanctions and stricter surveillance and, in particular, the 'balanced budget rule'.