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The European Union

  • Introduction

    This timeline is a brief history of the European Union. The European Union traces its history all the way back to 1952 when six countries came togther to create a free trade area in post-WW2 Europe. Over the years this free trade are developed and morphed into what became the European Union in 1993. By viewing this timeline, you will see how the EU has developed since its inception and some of the issues it has faced.
  • The Original Union

    The Original Union
    Image SourceThe European Coal and Steel Community was created by a treaty between Germany, Belgium, France, Holland, Luxembourg, and Italy. This set up a free trade area for key resources such as coal, steel, and iron ore. The goal of the treaty was to solve economic problems caused by having resources in one country and the industry for said resource in another. Source:
    The First Union
  • European Union Formed

    European Union Formed
    On this date, the Maastricht Treaty was signed. This treaty converted the European Economic Community into the European Union. The goal of this treaty and forming the Union was to give more power to the EU Parliament, introduce a unified currency, and creating the concept of the EU citizen Image Source Source
  • The Union Begins

    The Union Begins
    On this date, the European Union officially came to be. For the first time, Europeans were offered free movement of goods, services, people, and moeny across member borders. The initial members were: Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Italy, Denmark, United Kingdom, Ireland, Greece, Spain, and Portugal Image Source
  • Schengen Agreement

    This agreement allowed citizens of the member countries to move between the countries without passports. The initial particpants in this agreement were Belgium, Germany, Spain, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Portugal. However, since this was passed, many members of the EU have joined. Source
  • The Euro

    The Euro
    On this date the Euro became the official currency of the EU. The Euro was adopted by 11 member states initially. Denmark, Sweden, and UK declined to use the currency. This was the first time that the Union had a unified currency. For a few years, the Euro was not very strong, however, the currency later rebounded.
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  • Treaty of Nice

    This treaty helped pave the way for EU enlargement that would happen in 2004. The treaty created a framework to reform EU institutions in order to accomadate and be ready for more countries to join the Union. Source
  • Former Communist Countries Join

    Former Communist Countries Join
    On this date, the EU took ten new members. All of these members are former communist states. Obviously, this was a huge leap for the EU as it grew the Union while also including countries that were once at odds with EU members Image Source
  • The First Recession

    The First Recession
    In 2008, on the heels of the world recession, the EU was thrust into it's first recession. The relatively young Euro was now plummeting in value thanks in part to the economies of Spain, Portugal, and Greece, among others. In eraly 2010, France and Germany would agree on a bailout mechanism to enable to EU to help members Image Source Source
  • Euro Troubles

    In April 2010, Standard & Poor's downgraded Greece's soverign debt to junk status. This means that institution investors (and most investors) will not invest in Greek govenment bonds. The Greek budget deficit was up to 13.6%, far higher than the maximum allowable budget deficit under EU law. Source
  • Greece's Bailout

    Greece's Bailout
    The Eurozone and the IMF agreed to a 110 billion euro bailout for Greece. Over the course of three years, Greece will be given this money in return for severe budget cuts. The goal of this bailout was to prevent Greece from defaulting on loans. If they had, the negative affect to the Euro would have been huge
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