History of EU

How the EU was born

The European Community was established seeking to preserve permanent peace and stability in Europe. The European federalist Jean Monnet convinced the Minister of Foreign Affairs of France on 9th May 1950 to suggest that the German-French coal and steel production should be put under the joint control within the framework of an organisation that would be open to other states as well.

The main goals behind the idea were the following:

  • а. Control of the market and coal and steel production
  • b. Establishment of mutual trust after WWII
  • c. Control of the arms industry.


The most important dates in history:



After 47 years of membership, the United Kingdom left the European union in 2020 - the single market and the customs union.


The sixth enlargement

Croatia became the 28th EU member state in 2013.


The Treaty of Lisbon

The Lisbon Treaty came into force in 2009. The most important changes brought by the contract were two new functions within the EU institutional system: President of the European Council and High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy to strengthen the position of the EU on the international scene.


The fifth enlargement – second part

Romania and Bulgaria became EU member states in 2007.


The fifth enlargement in 2004

Estonia, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia and the Czech Republic became EU member states.


The Treaty of Nice

The Treaty of Nice of 2003 prepared the great enlargement – the accession of ten new countries. The concept of the Constitution of European Union was developed.


Introducing Euro

Euro became the official currency in the European Union in 2002.


The Treaty of Amsterdam

The Treaty of Amsterdam of 1999 imposed the obligation upon the communities to increase the employment rate, as well as to create a unity between the member states with respect to the protection of fundamental human rights, freedoms and security for European citizens.


The fourth enlargement

Austria, Finland and Sweden joined the EU in1995. at the same time, the Schengen Agreement came into force abolishing the borders between the signatory countries, and the EU got competence over immigration, control of the external borders of the Schengen area, visa approval and asylum for citizens of other countries.


The Maastricht Treaty

The Maastricht Treaty of 1993 brought the three communities under one umbrella: the European Union. The main idea of the new community was to create a common foreign, monetary and security policy. It was then that the three pillars of the European Union were established:

  • Pillar I: European Community (EC)
  • Pillar II: Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP)
  • Pillar III: Police and Judicial Co-operation in Criminal Matters (PJCC).



The third enlargement

Spain and Portugal joined the EU in 1986, when the Single European Act was brought (it came into force in 1987), which gave the Parliament greater powers.


The second enlargement

Greece joined the Community in 1981.


The first enlargement

The first enlargement took place in 1973 when the Community was joined by Denmark, Ireland and Great Britain. Norway was to join the Community on this occasion, however, accession was rejected in a referendum.


Merger Treaty-Agreement to combine the executive bodies of all three communities

The Treaty came into force in 1967 (it was signed in 1965) and all three communities shared common institutions: Commission, Council of Ministers and Parliament. The institutions were seated in Brussels, Luxemburg and Strasbourg.


The Treaty of Rome

It soon became certain that the Coal and Steel Community was not sufficient, therefore, in 1958 the European Economic Community and the European Atomic Energy Community (EURATOM) were founded. The idea was to create a joint market which would enable free movement of goods, people, capital and services; abolish market limits; harmonize economic and social policies, standardise customs, and support the underdeveloped regions of member states.


European Coal and Steel Community

The ECSC was founded in 1952 as the first aspect of unity. The contract was signed with a validity period of 50 years and it expired in 2002. The founding member states of the first Community were: France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands.


Today, the European Union has 27 member states and a population of over 500 million people.