Past and Present

1950 

On 9 May the French Foreign Minister Robert Schumann submits a plan laying out a common market for coal and steel. The author of the plan is the head of the French General Planning Commission, Jean Monet. For this reason 9 May is now commemorated as Europe Day.

1951 

On 18 April Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, Germany and the Netherlands sign the Treaty establishing the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC). The Treaty of Paris comes into force on 23 July 1952.

1957 

On 27 March Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, Germany and the Netherlands sign the Treaty establishing the European Economic Community (EEC) and the Treaty establishing the European Atomic Energy Community (EURATOM) – the Treaties of Rome come into force on 1 January 1958.

1965 

On 8 April the Member States sign the Merger Treaty, which establishes common executive bodies for all three communities. The Treaty comes into force on 1 July 1967. Since that date the European Community (EC) title is used.

1968 

European Community Member States begin to trade without internal tariffs on imports on 6 July.  Uniform tariffs are put in place for third world countries.

1972 

On 24 April the European Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM) begins to operate, which allows only marginal movement of exchange rates between the individual currencies of the Member States.  This is the first step towards the introduction of a common European currency.

1973

On 1 January the European Community expands by the accession of Denmark, Ireland and Great Britain.

1974 

The European Council is established – the new institution of the European Community was set up by a communiqué following the 1974 Paris Summit. The European Council is a regular meeting of the Heads of State of the European Community Member States.  The European Council was integrated into the body of primary EC legislation by the Single European Act (which encompasses all international Treaties signed by the Member States).  The Treaty on the European Union defines the European Council as the body which determines the political direction of the EU.

1979

On 7 through 10 June, the first direct elections for the European Parliament are held.

1981

Greece joins the European Community on 1 January.

1985

On 14 June the Member States sign the Schengen Agreement, which foresees the abolition of internal border controls, the unification of asylum and visa policies and the establishment of the Schengen Information System (SIS).  This main information system ensures access to important information for the police and customs authorities of individual Member States.

1986 

Spain and Portugal join the European Community on 1 January.

On 17 February the Single European Act (SEA) is signed in Luxembourg (by nine Member States), and on 28 February in The Hague (by Denmark, Italy and Greece). This Treaty is the first significant revision of the founding Treaties of the Community.  Its main goal is to establish a common internal market by the end of 1992. It comes into force on 1 July 1987.

1990 

The first phase of the Economic and Monetary Union begins.  The main goals are the liberalization of capital movement and the participation of all Member States in the Exchange Rate Mechanism (each currency has a set base exchange rate to ECU and this rate is consequently the base for mutual exchange rates between the currencies).

1992

On 7 February 1992, in Maastricht, the Foreign Ministers and Finance Ministers of the EC Member States sign the Treaty on the European Union (EU).  This is the second major revision of the founding Treaties of the Community.  This Treaty introduces the term ‘European Union’, the three-pillar structure (the Maastricht Temple), the principle of subsidiarity (which ensures that decisions are taken as closely as possible to the citizen), the citizenship of the Union and the requirement to create the Economic and Monetary Union by the end of 1999.  It comes into force on 1 November 1993.

1993

On 22 June the Copenhagen Criteria are set forth by the European Council, which define the conditions that must be met by any country seeking membership of the EU.  These include the requirements for stability of institutions guaranteeing democracy, existence of a functioning market economy, and integration of the acquis communautaire (accumulating the laws and regulations which were adopted during the individual phases of integration of the community and creation of the single market) into the national legislation along with assuming the commitment arising from EU membership.

1994 

The European Monetary Institute, which coordinates the introduction of a common European currency (the Euro), begins to function on 1 January.

1995

Finland, Austria and Sweden join the EU.

1997

On 2 October the Foreign Ministers of the EU Member States sign the Treaty of Amsterdam, which revises the Treaty on the European Union. The Treaty of Amsterdam comes into force on 1 May 1999.

The European Commission unveils its Agenda 2000, which seeks to prepare the EU for further expansion. Agenda 2000 also contains the evaluation of the candidate countries prepared on the basis of the Copenhagen Criteria.

On 1 June the European Monetary Institute winds up its activities and its role is assumed by the European Central Bank, which begins to operate as the management centre for the monetary policies of the Eurozone countries.

1999

On 1 January the common currency is introduced for cashless transfers.

2000

In March, at the meeting of the European Council in Lisbon, the Heads of the Member States launch a new strategy for the next decade (the Lisbon Strategy), which aims to invigorate the EU and by 2010 to make it the most dynamic and competitive economy in the world.

2001

On 26 February the Foreign Ministers of the EU Member States sign the Treaty of Nice. This Treaty addresses the institutional reform of the EU after its expansion in 2004. It comes into force on 1 February 2003.

2002

The Euro becomes the legal tender on 1 January in twelve EU Member States (Belgium, Finland, France, Italy, Ireland, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Germany, Portugal, Austria, Greece and Spain).

2002 - 2003

A summit on the future development of the EU is held from February 2002 until June 2003.  The summit results in the draft treaty establishing a constitution for Europe, which is announced on 20 June 2003 at the meeting of the European Council in Thessaloniki.

2004

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

On 29 October, in Rome, the Heads of the EU Member States sign the Treaty on the Constitution for Europe.

2005

The ratification processes of the European Constitution begin in individual EU Member States, which is required for the treaty to come into force. Due to  the results of the referendums in France and the Netherlands, where the treaty is turned down by the citizens, the treaty fails to be ratified.

2007

On 1 January Bulgaria and Romania join the EU. Slovenia adopts the Euro as its currency.

On 13 December the Heads of the EU Member States sign the Lisbon Treaty. This Treaty aims to ensure that the EU can function effectively in the future, after the failure of the EU Constitution.

On 21 December the Schengen Area expands to include the Czech Republic, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Hungary, Malta, Poland, Slovenia and Slovakia.

2008

On 1 January the Euro becomes the currency of Cyprus and Malta.

Individual Member States begin the ratification process for the Lisbon Treaty. A referendum held in Ireland rejects the Treaty on 12 June 2008.

2009

On 1 January Slovakia adopts the Euro as its currency.

Last update: 16.8.2011 16:02

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