The EU: A Potted History


The European Union (EU) was borne out of a European need for unity in the aftermath of WWII, but the current EU is a long way from what it started out as. Here’s a brief guide to how the EU became what it is today, via a considerable number of treaties.




1948 – Hague Congress: Creation of the European Movement International, where the future leaders of Europe would study together.

1952 – Creation of the European Coal and Steel Community, which was ‘the first step in the federation of Europe’.

1957 – Creation of the European Economic Community, with the signing of the Treaty of Rome. Participants were Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and West Germany.

1967 – The Merger Treaty came into force, which paved the way for the creation of the European Union.

1973 – Expansion, which incorporated Britain, Ireland and Denmark.

1975 – UK referendum on whether to remain in the EU. We voted to remain (62% to 38%).

1979 – The first elections to the European Parliament were held.

1981 – Greece joined the EU.

1985 – Schengen Agreement was signed. This allowed for open borders and no passport control within the EU. The UK elected not to be part of this agreement.

1986 – The European Flag was used for the first time; Spain and Portugal joined.

1988 – Margaret Thatcher’s famous ‘no, no, no’ speech in response to increased European influence on British governmental systems.

1990 – After the collapse of the Eastern Bloc, East Germany unified with West Germany and subsequently became part of the EU.

1993 – The name ‘European Union’ came into force due to the 1992 signing of the Maastricht Treaty.

1995 – Austria, Finland and Sweden joined the EU.

2002 – The Euro replaced the previous currencies of 12 nations. These countries are known as the ‘Eurozone’.

2004 – The biggest enlargement of the EU to date, with 10 new nations joining, including Poland, Hungary and Cyprus.

2007 – Romania and Bulgaria became EU members.

2008 – The financial crash of this year saw several countries having to be bailed out over the next few years, including Greece (multiple times) Ireland, Portugal and Spain

2009 – The signing of the Lisbon Treaty merges all previous European organizations, such as the European Community, into one ‘European Union’.

2012 – The EU received the Nobel Peace Prize, for having ‘contributed to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy, and human rights in Europe’.

2013 – Croatia becomes the 28th member of the EU.

2015 – Refugee Crisis sees vastly different responses from many European states

2016 – UK to hold a referendum on EU membership, 41 years after the last one.


Deputy Editor of the Wessex Scene for 2015/16. I often write News, Politics and Opinion pieces. As well as writing for the Scene I can be found in the Surge Radio studio, where I am the Head of News. Also, as I'm new to twitter and desperate, follow me!! @95moliver

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