European Union/Timelines

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A timeline (or several) relating to European Union.


1949 The Council of Europe is founded.
1951 The Treaty of Paris establishes the European Coal and Steel Community.
1954 The European Court of Justice makes its first ruling.
1957 The Treaty of Rome[2] creates the European Economic Community (membership (Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands).
1958 The first meeting of the European Parliamentary Assembly.
1959 The European Free Trade Association is established (membership Austria, Denmark, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom).


1962 The European Commission begins work

The Common Agricultural Policy begins operation

1963 The UK's application to join the EEC is vetoed by France

1966 The introduction of majority voting[3]

1967 The value-added tax[4] - the coordination of member states' indirect tax systems by the intoduction of a uniform value-added tax with rates of 15 to 25 per cent.


1973 Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom join the Union

1979 The first direct elections to the European Parliament


1981 Greece joins the Union

1986 Spain and Portugal join the Union

The Single European Act[5] - provides for increasing the number of cases in which the Council can take decisions by qualified majority voting instead of unanimity..


1992 The Maastricht Treaty[1] - creates the European Union, comprising the European Communities, common foreign and security policy and police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters, and initiates a 3-stage process to culminate in the economic and monetary union known as the eurozone

1993 Copenhagen European Council[6] - criteria for membership (stability of institutions guaranteeing democracy, the rule of law, human rights and respectfor and protection of minorities, the existence of a functioning market economy as well as the capacity to cope with competitive pressure and market forces within the Union. Membership presupposes the candidate's ability to take on the obligations of membership including adherence to the aims of political, economic and monetary union).

1995 Austria, Finland and Sweden join the EU.

The Schengen Agreement[7] takes effect in seven countries — Belgium, Germany, Spain, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Portugal. Travellers of any nationality can travel between all these countries without any passport control at the frontiers.

1997 The Treaty of Amsterdam[8] creating a Community employment policy, reforming the common foreign and security policy (CFSP), and extending qualified-majority voting.

1997-1999 Partnership and Cooperation Agreements with NIS

With Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Moldovis, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.

1999 The Charter of Human Rights[9] is agreed.

the Eurozone (founder members: Belgium, Germany, Greece, Spain, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Austria, Portugal and Finland.)


2001 Greece joins the eurozone

The Söderköping Process[10] - launched to promote better cooperation on asylum and migration related issues among the countries situated along the future eastern border of EU.

2003 The Treaty of Nice[11][12] amends the size and composition of the Commission, weighting of votes in the Council; and extends the scope ofqualified-majority voting;

2004 Eight countries of central and eastern Europe join the EU (the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia ).

The Mediterranean islands of Cyprus and Malta join the EU.
The 25 EU countries sign a Treaty establishing a European Constitution[13]
The Hague programme[14] - sets the objectives for strengthening freedom, security and justice in the EU for the period 2005-2010.

2007 Bulgaria and Romania, join the Union.

The 27 EU countries sign the Treaty of Lisbon[15] - which provides for a strengthened role for the European Parliament, greater involvement of national parliaments, and provisions for withdrawal from membership/
Slovenia joins the eurozone

2008 Cyprus and Malta join the eurozone

European Pact on Immigration and Asylum[16]

2009 Appointment of a President of the European Council (Herman Van Rompuy), and a High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (Catherine Ashton)[2].

Slovakia joins the eurozone

2010: Concern develops concerning the fiscal sustainability of the economies of the "PIIGS" countries (Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain) and a eurozone fund was set up to assist members in difficilty. Loans are provided to Greece and Ireland, but there are signs of contagion of market fears by the governments of other eurozone countries. Launch of the European Financial Stability Facility. (see the Eurozone crisis article). (See the eurozone crisis timeline).

Estonia joins the eurozone.


2011. The EU and Ukraine agree on the final wording of a free trade and political association treaty, but human rights and democracy need to be strengthened before association agreement can be signed[17].

The European Central Bank offers to lend unlimited amounts to eurozone banks at an interest rate of 1 per cent,

2012 25 out of the 27 EU governments sign the Fiscal Compact (Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union)[[18]. [19] , Britain and the Czech Republic abstaining.

The EU Commission proposes new European Central Bank powers for banking supervision as part of a banking union[20]

EU awarded Nobel Peace Prize[21].

2013: Croatia becomes the 28th member.

2016: United Kingdom votes in a referendum to leave the EU

2020: United Kingdom becomes first member to leave the EU