European Union Integration
† 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.
Key timeline history
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
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.
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