Timeline of European Union history
This is a timeline of European Union history and its previous development.
Part of a series on the
|History of the
|European Union portal|
- 1945 – The end of World War II
- 1951 – Treaty of Paris creates Coal and Steel Community
- 1957 – Treaty of Rome creates European Economic Community (by "The Six": Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and West Germany)
- 1963 – Ankara Agreement initiated a three-step process toward creating a Customs Union which would help secure Turkey's full membership in the EEC.
- 1963 – Charles de Gaulle vetoes UK entry
- 1967 – ECSC, EEC and Euratom merged
- 1973 – Accession of Denmark, Ireland and the UK
- 1979 – First direct elections to Parliament
- 1981 – Accession of Greece
- 1985 – Delors Commission, Greenland leaves Community.
- 1986 – Single European Act; Accession of Portugal and Spain; flag adopted
- 1989 – The fall of the Iron Curtain in Eastern Europe
- 1992 – Maastricht Treaty formally called the Treaty on European Union - The European Union is born and Euro was introduced as the fellow currency (Denmark and the UK are not included in the EMU (European Monetary Union).
- 1993 – Copenhagen criteria defined
- 1995 – Accession of Austria, Finland and Sweden
- 1999 – Fraud in the Commission results in resignation
- 2002 – The euro replaces twelve national currencies
- 2004 – Accession of ten countries (Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia); signing of Constitution
- 2005 – France and the Netherlands reject the Constitution after own internal referendums (for France it was a binding one only)
- 2007 – Accession of Bulgaria and Romania
- 2009 – Lisbon Treaty abolishes the three pillars of the European Union
- 2013 – Accession of Croatia
- 2016 – UK holds a Membership Referendum and votes to leave the European Union
- 2017 – Negotiations between UK and the EU officially started in June 2017
- 2017 – Start of Brexit: On 29 March 2017, the Government of the United Kingdom invoked Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union. The UK was due to leave the EU on 29 March 2019 at 11 p.m. GMT, when the period for negotiating a withdrawal agreement was set to end
- 2020 – UK leaves the EU after the Brexit withdrawal agreement takes effect on 31 January 2020 at 11 p.m. GMT
Since the end of World War II, sovereign European countries have entered into treaties and thereby co-operated and harmonised policies (or pooled sovereignty) in an increasing number of areas, in the so-called European integration project or the construction of Europe (French: la construction européenne). The following timeline outlines the legal inception of the European Union (EU)—the principal framework for this unification. The EU inherited many of its present responsibilities from the European Communities (EC), which were founded in the 1950s in the spirit of the Schuman Declaration.
F: entry into force
de facto supersession
Rel. w/ EC/EU framework:
de facto inside
|European Union (EU)||[Cont.]|
|European Communities (EC)||(Pillar I)|
|European Atomic Energy Community (EAEC or Euratom)||[Cont.]|
|/ / / European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC)|
|European Economic Community (EEC)|
|Schengen Rules||European Community (EC)|
|'TREVI'||Justice and Home Affairs (JHA, pillar II)|
|North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO)||[Cont.]||Police and Judicial Co-operation in Criminal Matters (PJCC, pillar II)|
|[Defence arm handed to NATO]||European Political Co-operation (EPC)||Common Foreign and Security Policy|
(CFSP, pillar III)
|Western Union (WU)||/ Western European Union (WEU)||[Tasks defined following the WEU's 1984 reactivation handed to the EU]|
|[Social, cultural tasks handed to CoE]||[Cont.]|
|Council of Europe (CoE)|
- ¹Although not EU treaties per se, these treaties affected the development of the EU defence arm, a main part of the CFSP. The Franco-British alliance established by the Dunkirk Treaty was de facto superseded by WU. The CFSP pillar was bolstered by some of the security structures that had been established within the remit of the 1955 Modified Brussels Treaty (MBT). The Brussels Treaty was terminated in 2011, consequently dissolving the WEU, as the mutual defence clause that the Lisbon Treaty provided for EU was considered to render the WEU superfluous. The EU thus de facto superseded the WEU.
- ²The treaties of Maastricht and Rome form the EU's legal basis, and are also referred to as the Treaty on European Union (TEU) and the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), respectively. They are amended by secondary treaties.
- ³The European Communities obtained common institutions and a shared legal personality (i.e. ability to e.g. sign treaties in their own right).
- ⁴Between the EU's founding in 1993 and consolidation in 2009, the union consisted of three pillars, the first of which were the European Communities. The other two pillars consisted of additional areas of cooperation that had been added to the EU's remit.
- ⁵The consolidation meant that the EU inherited the European Communities' legal personality and that the pillar system was abolished, resulting in the EU framework as such covering all policy areas. Executive/legislative power in each area was instead determined by a distribution of competencies between EU institutions and member states. This distribution, as well as treaty provisions for policy areas in which unanimity is required and qualified majority voting is possible, reflects the depth of EU integration as well as the EU's partly supranational and partly intergovernmental nature.
- ⁶Plans to establish a European Political Community (EPC) were shelved following the French failure to ratify the Treaty establishing the European Defence Community (EDC). The EPC would have combined the ECSC and the EDC.
- History of the European Union
- European Coal and Steel Community
- European Economic Community