formation of eu

  • End of World War II

    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
    was created on 21 January 1959 to ensure that countries respect the rights and guarantees set out in the convention. It is based in Strasbourg, France. The Council of Europe and the European Court of Human Rights are completely separate organisations from the European Union.
  • Schuman Declaration and Europe Day

    Schuman Declaration and Europe Day
    5 years after the end of World War II, the then French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman presents a plan for a new form of political cooperation in Europe, which would make war between Europe’s nations unthinkable.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Walter Hallstein

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