Bandera ue



    World War II ends in Europe. Millions of people around the world take to the streets to celebrate ‘Victory in Europe Day’, marking the end of the deadliest military conflict in history in which 60 million people died.
  • Congress of Europe

    Congress of Europe
    Around 800 representatives from European countries meet at the Congress of Europe in the Dutch city of The Hague to discuss new forms of cooperation.
  • Council of Europe

    Council of Europe
    The Council of Europe is an international organization of regional scope destined to promote, through the cooperation of the states of Europe, the configuration of a common political and legal space on the continent, based on the values ​​of democracy, human rights and the Rule of law.
  • The six founding countries

    The six founding countries
    Schuman’s vision starts to take shape when six countries — Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands — sign a treaty to create a European institution that would pool and manage coal and steel production. With these countries deciding together what to do with Europe’s coal and steel, no single nation can build weapons without the other nations knowing about it.
  • Court of Justice of the EU

    Court of Justice of the EU
    The Court of Justice of the European Union — the EU’s highest legal authority — is created. Its job is to ensure that EU law is interpreted and applied in the same way in every EU country, and that countries and EU institutions abide by EU laws. The Court of Justice is based in Luxembourg.
  • Rotating Presidency of the Council of the EU

    Rotating Presidency of the Council of the EU
    The presidency of the Council of the EU is not held by a person but by a Member State that chairs meetings, helping to ensure the continuity of the EU’s work. EU countries share this work on a rotating basis. The rotations began in 1952 when the Federal Republic of Germany held the presidency from September to December. The presidency started to rotate every 6 months from 1958 and continues to do so today.
  • Treaty Of Rome

    Treaty Of Rome
    Building on the success of the coal and steel treaty, Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands expand cooperation to other economic sectors. They sign the Treaties of Rome, creating the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom), and the European Economic Community or ‘common market’, allowing people, goods and services to move freely across borders.
  • European Social Found

    European Social Found
    The ESF (European Social Fund) is the main instrument with which Europe supports job creation, helps people find better jobs and ensures fairer job opportunities for all EU citizens.
  • Walter Hallstein

    Walter Hallstein
    Walter Hallstein becomes the first President of the European Commission, a post he holds until 30 June 1967.
  • European Parliament

    European Parliament
    Today’s European Parliament traces its origins back to the Common Assembly of ‘representatives of the people’ of the European Coal and Steel Community. After the creation of the European Economic Community and the European Atomic Energy Community, it expands to cover all three communities. The new European Parliamentary Assembly, made up of 142 members, meets for the first time in Strasbourg in 1958. It changes its name to the European Parliament on 30 March 1962.
  • European Free Trade Association

    European Free Trade Association
    The European Free Trade Association is set up by a number of European countries that are not part of the European Economic Community (Austria, Denmark, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom) to reduce barriers and increase trade of goods and services with each other. Today, its members are Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.
  • Building of the Berlin Wall

    Building of the Berlin Wall
    The communist authorities in East Germany begin to build a high wall through the centre of Berlin to prevent their citizens from escaping to a freer life in the West. It becomes an iconic symbol of the Cold War.
  • New European Commission headquarters

    New European Commission headquarters
    The Berlaymont office building, the European Commission’s headquarters, was originally built in 1967, on the former site of a convent and boarding school run by the Sisters of Berlaymont (Dames de Berlaymont). It was later refurbished and the newly renovated building was unveiled on 21 October 2004. The European Commission President offices occupy the 13th floor.
  • French riots and protests

    French riots and protests
    Rioting by students and workers in France shakes the very foundations of the state. Minor student protests also take place in other EU countries. They reflect frustrations with remote and unresponsive governments, as well as protests against the Vietnam War and the nuclear arms race.
  • Single market for goods

    Single market for goods
    At a meeting in The Hague, in the Netherlands, EU leaders from Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands confirm their willingness to move towards a single market with a common currency and reaffirm their agreement on the principle of letting other countries join the EU. Thanks to the single market, it is not only people who can now move around freely in the EU, but also goods, services and money.
  • First EU enlargement

    First EU enlargement
    Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom join the European Communities, marking the first enlargement. Together with Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, they bring the membership to nine. Following a referendum, Norway decides not to join.
  • Return of democracy in Greece and Spain

    Return of democracy in Greece and Spain
    Following the death of General Francisco Franco, Spain transitions to democracy. Greece establishes a new democratic and republican constitution in June 1975, restoring the country to democracy.
  • First European in space

    First European in space
    Czech cosmonaut Vladimír Remek becomes the first European in space. He later became a politician and Member of the European Parliament (2004-2013).
  • First European Elections

    First European Elections
    For the first time, European citizens can vote for who they want to represent them in the European Parliament. Before the introduction of direct elections, MEPs were appointed by the national parliaments of each Member State. The European elections have been held every 5 years since then. You have the right to vote at 18 in all EU countries except Austria, Malta (16), and Greece (17).
  • Simone Veil

    Simone Veil
    Simone Veil, former French health minister and survivor of the Holocaust, becomes the first President of the directly-elected European Parliament, and the first woman to hold the post. Find out who else has been, and is today, the President of the European Parliament.
  • Greece joins the European Communities

    Greece joins the European Communities
    Greece becomes the 10th country to join the European Communities, now known as the European Union.
  • First European Year

    First European Year
    The EU launches the first of a series of year-long campaigns to raise awareness of certain topics, encourage debate and change attitudes. The focus for the first European Year is small and medium-sized businesses and the craft industry, an important sector of the EU economy. During the course of many of these ‘European Years’, extra funding is provided for local, national and cross-border projects that address the year’s special topic.
  • Greenland leaves the European Communities

    Greenland leaves the European Communities
    Between 1973 and 1985, Greenland was part of the European Communities (today called the European Union). Following a referendum held in 1982, it withdrew from the EU but remains associated with it as an Overseas Country and Territory.
  • Schengen Agreement

    Schengen Agreement
    A small village in Luxembourg gives its name to the Schengen Agreement that gradually allows people to travel without having their passports checked at the borders. It is signed on 14 June 1985 by Belgium, Germany, France, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. 26 countries currently make up the Schengen area. Did you know that 1.7 million Europeans commute between EU countries every day for work?
  • Spain and Portugal join the European Communities

    Spain and Portugal join the European Communities
    Spain and Portugal join the European Communities, bringing the total number of members to twelve.
  • European flag

    European flag
    The European flag is raised for the first time in front of the Berlaymont building — the headquarters of the European Commission in Brussels — to the music of the European anthem. The flag is made up of 12 golden stars on a blue background. The number of stars never changes. They stand for the ideals of unity, solidarity and harmony among the peoples of Europe. The flag flies above many parliaments, municipal buildings, parks and monuments all over Europe.
  • Stephen Hawking

    Stephen Hawking
    ‘A Brief History of Time’, a book by British physicist Stephen Hawking to help non-scientists understand questions about the universe, is published. It goes on to become a global bestseller. Professor Hawking’s final theory of the origin of the universe was developed in collaboration with EU-funded Professor Thomas Hertog from Leuven University in Belgium. It was published shortly after his death in 2018.
  • Fall of the Berlin Wall

    Fall of the Berlin Wall
    The collapse of communism across central and eastern Europe, which begins in Poland and Hungary, is symbolised by the fall of the Berlin Wall. The German Democratic Republic opens its borders. Germany is united after more than 40 years, and its eastern part joins the European Community on 3 October 1990.
  • UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

    UN Convention on the Rights of the Child
    Have you heard of the European Convention on Human Rights? It protects human rights and political freedom in Europe. Well, there is also a special set of rights for children. The United Nations adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child in November 1989. It includes over 40 rights covering all aspects of a child’s life, such as the right to privacy and education and the right to be treated fairly.
  • Hubble Space Telescope

    Hubble Space Telescope
    The Hubble Space Telescope, a joint project between the United States’ ‘National Aeronautics and Space Administration’ (NASA) and the European Space Agency (which brings together 22 European countries) is launched into orbit.
    Thanks to the Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers have found the farthest star ever seen and identified nine monster stars 30 million times brighter than the Sun!
  • European Humanitarian Aid Office

    European Humanitarian Aid Office
    The European Commission sets up a ‘European Humanitarian Aid Office’. The EU is one of the world’s largest aid providers. It provides relief assistance for food, shelter, education, protection and healthcare in many countries around the world.
  • European Parliament building in Brussels

    European Parliament building in Brussels
    The oldest European Parliament building in Brussels, which was named after its first President and one of the EU’s founders, Belgian politician Paul-Henri Spaak, opened in 1993. The largest building in the European Parliament complex, dedicated to another EU founder — Italian politician Altiero Spinelli — opened in 1998. In 2008, two new buildings were completed. The Parliament, its committees and plenary meetings are all open to the public.
  • Maastricht Treaty

    Maastricht Treaty
    The Maastricht Treaty, named after the Dutch city in which it was signed, comes into force. It is a major milestone of the European integration. It formally creates the European Union and paves the way for the creation of the single European currency: the euro. It also gives the European Parliament a bigger role in decision-making and the power to approve the Commission as a whole.
  • First tax on plastic and paper bags

    First tax on plastic and paper bags
    Denmark becomes the first country in the world to introduce a tax on plastic and paper bags. Under EU law, all EU countries have to take action to reduce the use of plastic bags. The aim is to cut their use.
  • European Economic Area

    European Economic Area
    A ‘European Economic Area’ stretching from the Arctic to the Mediterranean is created, extending the single market beyond just the EU countries. Today the European Economic Area is made up of all EU Member States, plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway who participate in the single market and are governed by the same basic rules. These rules enable free movement of goods, people, services and capital within the single market.
  • Austria, Finland and Sweden join the EU

    Austria, Finland and Sweden join the EU
    Austria, Finland and Sweden join the EU, increasing its membership to 15.
  • European Medicines Agency

    European Medicines Agency
    The European Medicines Agency is set up. It ensures that medicines used for people and animals in the EU are safe and effective.
  • First European Ombudsman

    First European Ombudsman
    The European Parliament appoints Jacob Söderman from Finland as the first Ombudsman of the European Union to deal with complaints about maladministration in the EU institutions, bodies, offices and agencies. Anyone who is a citizen of a European Member State or lives in a Member State can make a complaint to the European Ombudsman.
  • Common side of the Euro

    Common side of the Euro
    Belgian Luc Luycx, a coin designer working for the Royal Mint of Belgium, wins a competition to design the common side of the future euro coin. If you look closely, you can spot his initials on your coins.
  • Treaty of Amsterdam

    Treaty of Amsterdam
    The Treaty of Amsterdam is signed in the capital of the Netherlands. It prepares the European Union for the arrival of future Member States. From now on, a new Commission president can only be appointed with the approval of the European Parliament.
  • Treaty of Nice

    Treaty of Nice
    The Treaty of Nice is signed by the heads of the EU’s 15 Member States at a meeting in this French city. It changes the EU’s decision-making process so that the European Union will be ready for countries from Eastern Europe to join when ready. The European Parliament’s legislative and supervisory powers are increased. The treaty comes into force on 1 February 2003.
  • The euro

    The euro
    Euro notes and coins become the legal currency in 12 EU countries. Printing, minting and distributing them is a major logistical operation. More than 80 billion coins are involved. While euro coins have a common side giving the value, each country has its own design on the other side. Using a Finnish (or any other) euro coin to buy a Madrid metro ticket is something we soon take for granted. 19 countries currently use the euro.
  • No smoking in the workplace

    No smoking in the workplace
    Ireland becomes the first country in the world to introduce a total ban on smoking in workplaces. All EU countries have adopted measures to protect citizens against exposure to tobacco smoke. The strictest measures have been introduced by Ireland, Greece, Hungary, Bulgaria, Malta and Spain.
  • Ten more countries join the EU

    Large parts of eastern and western Europe are united in peace and democracy as 10 new countries join the EU. The addition of Cyprus, Czechia, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia brings the total number of Member States to 25. Numerous events take place across Europe to mark this historic enlargement.
    The domain name ‘.eu’ opens for all residents within the European Union – citizens, associations, clubs, etc. – providing new internet space and promoting an EU internet identity.
  • Bulgaria and Romania join the EU

    Bulgaria and Romania join the EU
    Bulgaria and Romania join the European Union, bringing its membership to 27. Irish becomes the 21st official language and Bulgarian and Romanian bring the number to 23.
  • Montenegro applies to join the EU

    Montenegro applies to join the EU
    Montenegro applies to join the European Union.
  • Food Quality labels

    Food Quality labels
    The European Court of Justice rules that only cheese bearing the Protected Designation of Origin ‘Parmigiano Reggiano’ can be sold under the name ‘Parmesan’. The EU’s quality logos help to protect and promote products with particular characteristics linked to their geographical origin as well as traditional products. More than 3 000 products are currently registered under the various schemes.
  • Treaty of Lisbon

    Treaty of Lisbon
    The Treaty of Lisbon, which was signed in the Portuguese capital on 13 December 2007, becomes law. Its aim is to make the EU more democratic, more efficient and better able to address global problems, such as climate change, with one voice. It also provides a formal procedure to be followed by Member States wishing to leave the European Union, known as Article 50.