Timeline of the European Union     Print Email


•   January 1: The Treaty of Stability, Coordination and Governance enters into force.

•   May 21: The European Parliament approves stricter safety standards for offshore oil and gas drilling.

•   June 27-28: European Council agrees to open accession negotiations with Serbia and confirms that Latvia will join the eurozone in 2014.

•   July 1: Croatia joins the EU as the 28th member state.

•   July 4: The European Parliament launches an inquiry into electronic mass surveillance of EU citizens prompted by revelations of spying activities by US intelligence services.

•   November 20: Malala Yousafzai, the Pakastani schoolgirl and champion of women’s rights and education, receives the European Parliament’s annual Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought.

•   November 28-29: Vilnius hosts the Eastern Partnership summit, where Georgia and Moldova initial Association Agreements and Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Areas (DCFTAs) with the EU. Ukraine, which previously planned to sign its Association Agreement and DCFTA with the EU, declines to sign. Unrest takes hold of Ukraine, and the relationship with the EU is unresolved.

•   December 2: The European Council adopts a long-term budget for 2014-2020, the ‘Multiannual Financial Framework’ over two years of negotiations.

•   December 19: The European Council holds a conference on defense to determine the future of the Common Security and Defense Policy, the first time defense has been the subject of a Council meeting.


•   January 22: Croatians vote “yes” on an accession referendum to join the EU.

•   February 2: A treaty is signed to establish the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), which will safeguard financial stability to all countries of the eurozone.

•   February 21: Euro area finance ministers agree to the terms of a second program to secure Greece’s finances and its future in the eurozone.

•   March 1: European Council grants Serbia candidate status for accession.

•   March 2: All member states -- except the UK and the Czech Republic -- sign the Treaty of Stability, Coordination and Governance in the EMU (popularly known as the Fiscal Compact), which provides fiscal provisions for member states’ budgets and deficits.

•   March 29: The European Parliament adopts legislation to make trade of over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives safer and more transparent.

•   October 8: ESM becomes operational.

•   December 10: The European Union receives the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo.


•   October 27: At summit in Brussels, Eurozone leaders agree to write off 50 percent of Greece’s debt, increase EFSF package to one trillion euros and install EU monitoring missions of government budgets in Athens and Rome.

•   November 1: Mario Draghi becomes president of the European Central Bank, succeeding Jean-Claude Trichet.

•   December 9: At summit meeting, most EU states (including all 17 in eurozone) agree to plan for closer fiscal union, which would safeguard euro by tighter collective controls on budgets and punishment for excessive deficits. UK rejects these rule changes in name of protecting financial sovereignty, but almost all other 27 member states vow to proceed.

•   December 9: Croatia signs accession treaty on track to EU membership in 2013 as the 28th member-state.  


•   May: EU, IMF, and the World Bank agree on bailouts for Greece.

•   November: EU, IMF, and the World Bank agree on bailouts for Ireland and Portugal.


•   January: Slovakia joins Eurozone. 

•   November: Herman Van Rompuy is chosen as President of the European Council. Catherine Ashton is chosen as High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

•   December 1: Lisbon Treaty enters into force after ratification by remaining members: Poland, the Czech Republic, and Ireland (after second referendum.)


•    June: Lisbon Treaty ratification fails in Irish referendum.


•    January: Romania and Bulgaria join the EU. Slovenia adopts the Euro.

•    January: Hans-Gert Poettering of Germany elected President of the European Parliament.

•    December: Lisbon Treaty (Reform Treaty); an international agreement signed in Lisbon that would change the workings of the EU. The treaty, which not yet ratified by all EU member states, would amend the Treaty on European Union and the Treaties of Rome. Changes include; more qualified majority voting in the EU Council, increased involvement of the European Parliament in the legislative process through extended codecision with the EU Council, eliminating the pillar system, preventing the provision in the Treaty of Nice (2001) reducing the number of commissioners, and the creation of a President of the European Union and a High Representative for Foreign Affairs to present a united position on EU policies. If ratified, the Treaty of Lisbon would also make the Union's human rights charter, the Charter of Fundamental Rights, legally binding.


•    Malta, Cyprus, Slovenia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary joined the EU (largest enlargement to date).
•    Jose Manuel Barroso of Portugal elected President of the EC.
•    Josep Borrell of Spain elected President of the European Parliament.


•    Euro notes and coins replaced national currencies in 12 of the member states, which is now the second largest reserve currency and the second most traded currency in the world after the U.S. dollar.
•    Pat Cox of Ireland elected President of the European Parliament.


•    Treaty of Nice signed. This treaty amended the Maastricht Treaty and the Treaty of Rome by reforming the institutional structure of the European Union to withstand eastward expansion. The entrance into force of the treaty was in doubt for a time, after its initial rejection by Irish voters in a referendum in June 2001. This referendum result was reversed in a subsequent referendum held a little over a year later.


•    Manuel Marin of Spain elected President of the EC. (March)
•    Romano Prodi of Italy elected President of the EC. (September)
•    Nicole Fontaine of France elected President of the European Parliament.


•    José María Gil-Robles of Spain elected President of the European Parliament.


•    Austra, Sweden and Finland join the newly established EU.
•    Jaques Santer of Luxembourg elected President of the EC.


•    Klaus Haünsch of Germany elected President of the European Parliament.


•    Copenhagen criteria;
•    EC in Copenhagen, Denmark agreed on the Copenhagen Criteria, rules that define whether a nation is fit to join the European Union. The Criteria includes; “achieved stability of institutions guaranteeing democracy, the rule of law, human rights and respect for and, protection of minorities, the existence of a functioning market economy as well as the capacity to cope with competitive pressure and market forces within the Union. Membership presupposes the candidate's ability to take on the obligations of membership including adherence to the aims of political, economic and monetary union.”
•    Maastricht Treaty (Treaty of the European Union TEU);
•    The treaty led to the creation of the euro, and created what is commonly referred to as the pillar structure of the European Union. This conception of the Union divides it into the European Community (EC) pillar, the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) pillar, and the Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) pillar.


•    Egon Klepsch of Germany elected President of the European Parliament.


•    After the fall of the Iron Curtain former East Germany because a part of the Community as a united Germany.


•    Enrique Baron Crespo of Spain elected President of the European Parliament.


•    Single European Act came in to affect on July 1, under the Delors Commission.
•    Charles Henry Plumb of England elected President of the European Parliament.


•    Spain and Portugal joined EC;
•    The European flag began to be used by the European Community.
•    Single European Act (SEA) signed. It was the first major revision of the 1957 Treaty of Rome, giving the objective of establishing a Common Market by December 31, 1992, and codified European Political Cooperation. It was signed at Luxembourg on February 17, 1986, and at The Hague on February 28, 1986.

1985 Schengen Agreement:

•    Provided the removal of systematic border controls between member countries of the EC. The treaty was signed by 5 of the 10 member states in Schengen, Luxembourg. The borderless zone created by the Schengen Agreement, the Schengen Area, now consists of 25 European countries.
•    Jaques Delors of France elected President of the EC. Large advocate of the “single market”


•    Piere Pflimlin of France elected President of the European Parliament.


•    Piet Dankert of the Netherlands elected President of the European Parliament.


•    Greece joined EC.
•    Gaston Thorn of Luxembourg elected President of the EC.


•    First direct, democratic elections to the European Parliament were held. This election allowed citizens to elect 410 Members of Parliament. It was also the first international election in history. Simone Veil, a French liberal was the first President of the elected Parliament, and first female President of the Parliament since it was founded.


•    Roy Jenkins of England elected President of the EC.
•    The European Parliament, the Council and the Commission sign a joint declaration on the respect of fundamental rights.
•    The Conference on International Economic Cooperation, after eighteen months of discussion, closes with a ministerial conference. The twenty-seven participants agree on the transfer of resources, the quality and quantity of official development assistance and raw materials. Major efforts continue in the spheres of agriculture, foodstuffs, infrastructure and industrialization.
•    The Commission attends the World Energy Conference in Istanbul, Turkey.


•    The Commission takes part in a Conference, held in Barcelona, Spain, where a draft convention for the protection of the Mediterranean is adopted.
•    The EEC-ACP Convention, signed in Lomé on February 28, 1975, enters into force.
•    The Community signs cooperation agreements with three Maghreb countries (Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia).
•    The Administrative board of the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions holds its first meeting in Dublin, Ireland.
•    The EEC and Pakistan sign a trade cooperation agree
•    A tripartite Conference on the economic and social situation is held in Luxembourg. The Conference is attended by the Commission and the representatives of Governments and both sides of industry in the Member States.
•    The European Council meets in Brussels, Belgium. It agrees on the number and distribution of seats in the Parliament that is to be elected by direct universal suffrage in 1979.
•    Kramer ruling. The European Court of Justice defines the respective roles of the Community and of its Member States within the international fisheries framework.
•    The Community signs the Barcelona Convention for the protection of the Mediterranean sea against pollution.
•    A European Council is held in The Hague, Netherlands. The Council examines the economic situation and reaffirms its interest in the problems relating to the North-South Dialogue and publishes a statement on the construction of the European Union.


•    Mr. Georges Spénale is elected President of the European Parliament.
•    The Council sets up the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and a Regional Policy Committee.
•    The Council adopts a European unit of account based on a composite basket of the Community currencies. It will be used initially under the Lomé Convention and for the European Investment Bank operations. It will later be gradually introduced into other sectors of Community activities.
•    Mr Harold Wilson, the British Prime Minister, states in the House of Commons that the UK Government would recommend the British people to vote "yes" in the referendum on the United Kingdom's continued membership of the Community.
•    Official relations are established between China and the Community.
•    The ministerial Conference on International Economic Cooperation meets in Paris, France. In conclusion, the twenty-seven members (seven industrialised countries and the Community as such plus nineteen developing countries) set up four Commissions on energy, raw materials, development and finance.


•    The Council formally recognises the right of the Economic and Social committee (ESC) to issue opinions on it own initiative. It also agrees that the Committee publishes its own opinions.
•    Reyners ruling. The European Court of justice rules that whenever a national of a Member State wishes to set up in business in another Member State, the other Member State is obliged to refrain from applying any law, regulation or administrative provision or practice which might discriminate against him as opposed to its own nationals.


•    Denmark, Ireland and United Kingdom were included in the European Community.
•    The Community Free Trade Agreement with Austria, Switzerland, Portugal and Sweden comes into force.
•    Continental Can ruling. The European Court of Justice agrees that, within the meaning of the EEC Treaty, it constitutes an abuse for undertakings to concentrate and achieve a degree of power that virtually eliminates competition.
•    The Opening session of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) is held in Helsinki, Finland.
•    The nine declare their commitment to a pacific solution of the Middle-East crisis.
•    A summit conference is held in Copenhagen, Denmark. The energy crisis leads the Member States to agree on the introduction of a common energy policy. A statement on the European identity, drafted as part of political cooperation arrangements and approved by Foreign Ministers, is released.
•    Francois-Xavier Ortoli of France elected President of the EC.


•    Sicco Manshold of the Netherlands elected President of the EC.
•    The third United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) is held in Santiago, Chile.
•    A Summit meeting is held in Paris, France. Heads of State or Government define new fields of Community action (concerning regional, environmental, social, energy and industrial policies) and reaffirm 1980 as the deadline for the achievement of economic and monetary union.
•    A General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) meeting is held in Geneva, Switzerland.


•    The Council adopts the Werner Plan to strengthen coordination of economic policies. The Member States have to take measures to harmonise their budgetary policies and to reduce the margins of fluctuation between their currencies.
•    The 15th general conference on atomic energy is held in Vienna, Austria. The Council mandate to the Commission to negotiate an agreement on guarantees with the International Atomic Energy Association (IAEA) is announced.


•    Franco Maria Malfatti of Italy elected President of the EC.
•    Signature of the Treaty of Luxembourg. The Council decides the gradual introduction of a system of own-resources under which the Community will receive all customs duties on products imported from non-member countries, all levies on agricultural imports and resources deriving from value-added tax. They also decide to extend the budgetary powers of the European Parliament.
•    Internationale Handelsgesellschaft ruling. The European Court of Justice clarifies the idea of fundamental rights in Community law. It declares that protection of those rights, although inspired by the constitutional traditions common to the Member States, must be secured within the framework of the Community's structure and objectives.


•    The Merger Treaty, fusing the Executives of the European Communities (ECSC, EEC, Euratom), enters into force. From now on the European Communities will have a single Commission and a single Council. However, both continue to act in accordance with the rules governing each of the Communities.
•    Jean Rey of Belgium elected President of the EC.


•    The Luxembourg Compromise; resolving differences within the EEC involving France.


•    European court is established


•    European Free Trade Association created set up for the promotion of free trade and economic integration to the benefit of its Member States


•    Walter Hallstein is elected President of the EEC Commission.
•    Committee of Permanent Representatives (COREPER) created to prepare the work of the Councils.
•    First session of the European Parliamentary Assembly is held in Strasbourg, France. Robert Schuman is elected President of the Assembly, and the first Council regulation sets up German, French, Italian and Dutch as the official languages of the Communities.
•    Brussels becomes the headquarters of the EC.

1957 Treaties of Rome:

•    Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands and West Germany, former members of the European Coal and Steel Community (the first step towards a unified Europe), signed the Treaties of Rome which established the European Economic Community. These treaties established a customs union, the European Economic Community (EEC) and European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom). The EEC aims to create a common market a customs union plus free movement of capital and labor. To please France it also promises subsidies to farmers. Euratom's goal is the joint development of nuclear energy.