european union, european integration, history, winston chuchill, robert schumann
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European Union Integration
Key timeline history

† From early beginnings in 1946, at the close of the second seriously devastating war Europe had experienced in thirty years, western Europe embarked on a course of closer economic and political integration in large part with the intention of making future conflict less likely.

There were many particularly significant steps in this process.

On 19 September 1946 Winston Churchill, speaking in Zurich, called for the formation of an United States of Europe.

On 18 April 1951 Belgium, the Federal Republic of Germany, France, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands signed a Treaty of Paris establishing the European Coal and Steel Community. Such an ECSC had been sponsored by the French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman in May 1950.

By 1953 there was a common market formally established in Europe for coal, iron ore and scrap iron (February) and for steel (May).

On 25 March 1957 "The Six" original contracting parties to the European Coal and Steel Community, Belgium, the Federal Republic of Germany, France, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands signed treaties (Treaty of Rome) setting up a European Economic Community (EEC) and agreeing a Euratom Comission. The Treaty of Rome is set to come into effect from 1 January 1958.

In January 1962 the EEC adopted regulations providing for a common market in agriculture, for financial regulation and for governing competition.

In April 1965 The ECSC, the EEC and Euratom were all brought under a single Executive Authority.


By 1 July 1968 "The Six" had completed a Customs Union applying a common external tariff on imports.

Also in July 1968 a common labour market established through guarantees of free movement of labour.

In early December 1969 the European Community (EC), as the former EEC was now known, agreed to work towards greater integration of a single EC market. An eventual Monetary Union was envisioned as was the admission of new member states. It was agreed to open negotiations with Denmark, Ireland, Norway and the United Kingdom with the view of facilitating such admission or accession.

On 24 April 1972 a currency 'snake' was set-up whereby The Six agreed to limit the margin of fluctuation between their currencies to 2.25%.

On 1 January 1973 the EC was formally enlarged to nine members with the admission of Denmark, Ireland, and the United Kingdom.

On 1 July 1977 Customs duties between the nine EC members were completely abolished.

In July 1978 European Council meeting held at Bremen approved a plan to set up a European Monetary System (EMS).

In June 1979 elections to a European Parliament by direct universal suffrage held, for the first time, in the nine Member States.

Greece was admitted as the tenth Member State of the EC on 1 January 1981.

On 1 January 1986 Spain and Portugal joined the European Community bringing its membership to twelve.

Towards the end of the 1980's Communism, and with it the Soviet Union, lost hold on the allegiances of much of Eastern Europe. A treaty of 3 October 1990 between the Federal Republic of Germany and German Democratic Republic (a former Soviet satellite) entered into force unifying Germany. Five new former east German Lšnder are admitted as part of EC.

On 7 February 1992 a Maastricht Treaty on European Union was signed.

On 1 November 1993 Treaty on European Union entered into force. The EC now became the EU.

Austria, Finland and Sweden joined the EU on 1 January 1995 .

In December 1995 the European Council meeting in Madrid decided on "The Euro" as the name for the future European single currency. From 2002 the Euro is to be legal tender for members states involved in European Monetary Union (EMU).

In March 1998 a Conference of the EU Member States together with eleven applicant countries for EU membership took place in London.

EU accession negotiations with Cyprus, Hungary, Poland, Estonia, Czech Republic and Slovenia opened on 31 March 1998.

On 1 June 1998 a European Central Bank opened in Frankfurt.

In December 1999 a European Council held in Helsinki decides to open accession negotiations with Romania, the Slovak Republic, Latvia, Lithuania, Bulgaria and Malta. It also recognised Turkey as a candidate country.

On 1 January 2002 Euro notes and coins entered into circulation as legal tender in the twelve Member States who were fully participating in the Euro project. In March 2002 a "dual circulation period" ended leaving the Euro as the sole legal tender in the participating member states.

On 1 May 2004 the Czech Republic, Estonia, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Malta, Poland, Slovenia and Slovakia joined the European Union.

On 3 Oct 2005 European Union accession negotiations opened with Croatia and Turkey.

On 1 January 2007 Bulgaria and Romania joined the EU increasing the number of Member States to twenty seven.
Slovenia became the thirteenth country to adopt the Euro.

Popular Age-of-the-Sage pages
about European history

1 The European Revolution of 1848 begins
A broad outline of the background to the onset of the turmoils and a consideration of some of the early events.

2 The French Revolution of 1848
A particular focus on France - as an Austrian foreign minister said "When France sneezes Europe catches a cold".

3 The Revolution of 1848 in the German Lands and central Europe
"Germany" had a movement for a single parliament in 1848 and many central European would-be "nations" attempted to assert a distinct existence separate from the dynastic sovereignties they had been living under.

4 The "Italian" Revolution of 1848
A "liberal" Papacy after 1846 helps allow the embers of an "Italian" national aspiration to rekindle across the Italian Peninsula.

5 The Monarchs recover power 1848-1849
Some instances of social and political extremism allow previously pro-reform conservative elements to support the return of traditional authority. Louis Napoleon, (who later became the Emperor Napoleon III), attains to power in France offering social stability at home but ultimately follows policies productive of dramatic change in the wider European structure of states and their sovereignty.
The "anti-revolutionary" mindset
of the Dynastic governments
from 1815 until after the Crimean War
Italian Unification - Cavour, Garibaldi and
the Unification of Risorgimento Italy
Otto von Bismarck &
The wars of German unification
Italian unification map
Risorgimento Italy
Map of German unification
The Ems Telegram
The Zimmermann Telegram
President Woodrow Wilson
Fourteen Points Speech
Lenin's New Economic Policy


Return to start of
European Union Integration
Key timeline history


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"Central" mysticism insights
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"Other" spiritual wisdom
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