Significant Points in the History of the European Union

  • Coal and Steel Treaty

    Coal and Steel Treaty
    West Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg signed a treaty agreeing to cooperate economically and run heavy industries such as coal and steel under the same management. This was also to ensure a greater degree of military cooperation due to the fact that these nations could not produce weapons to use against each other due to the use of heavy industries to create these. This was a precursor to the modern-day European Union.
  • European Economic Community

    European Economic Community
    This was an organization created under the Treaty of Rome that was based on the idea of greater European economic cooperation and integration. This was created by the six nations in the Coal and Steel Treaty and allowed for a common market across these nations. Goods, services, and people were able to freely move throughout these countries due to this community, and this organization was later integrated as an important part of the European Union.
  • Removal of Customs Duties

    Removal of Customs Duties
    In 1968, the six countries in the EEC removed the customs duties that each had on the rest and established the same duties on imports to all of these nations. This allowed for free-flowing trade between these six nations and turned them into one cohesive group. This established the EEC, soon to be EU as a unified power that could trade with the rest of the world.
  • Single Currency Establishment

    Single Currency Establishment
    A single currency for the entire European Union, or European Economic Community, was established in 1972. This was called the exchange rate mechanism or ERM and was established in order to maintain economic stability without significant fluctuations with different currencies. This was the first step towards creating the modern-day currency of the euro.
  • European Parliament

    European Parliament
    This is the first time in which citizens of nations in the EEC elect members for the European Parliament, rather than these members being decided through national parliaments. The members of this Parliament were part of political groups, such as Socialist or Conservative rather than being sectioned off by the nations they were from. This helped enforce the desire for democracy within European nations and demonstrate a willingness to enforce democracy.
  • Single European Act

    Single European Act
    Despite the fact that customs duties were no longer a part of the EEC, there were still a variety of issues within different national policies. The Single European Act helped establish a single market within Europe by sorting out all of the existing issues, gave more power to and solidified the European Parliament, and overall strengthened the cohesion within the EEC, smoothing out many of the existing issues.
  • Treaty on European Union

    Treaty on European Union
    This treaty, signed in Maastricht, truly established the "European Union" including the name and the organization. This established all of the rules for the European Union, including regulation of the currency, the establishment of the guidelines for foreign policy, and cooperation among these counties with European affairs. This also established a security policy. This treaty wrapped up the existing organizations and treaties into the European Union as we know it today.
  • Croatia Joined EU - last of current EU Nations

    Croatia Joined EU - last of current EU Nations
    When Croatia joined the European Union, it was the last of the current list of EU nations to join, creating the EU we know today, apart from the UK. At this time, the list of countries in the EU included 28 members and stretched from West to East Europe, including nations that had formerly been divided from Western Europe during the eras of Post-WWII and the Cold War.
  • Brexit

    In January of 2020, Britain officially left the European Union, the first nation to do so in its history. This event is known as "Brexit" and it ended the economic integration of Britain within the European Union. While the effects of this are still being understood, it is clear that this event will be a relatively significant part of the history of the European Union.