Humanities › History & Culture A Timeline of the European Union Share Flipboard Email Print Westend61/Getty Images History & Culture European History European History Figures & Events Wars & Battles The Holocaust European Revolutions Industry and Agriculture History in Europe American History African American History African History Ancient History and Culture Asian History Genealogy Inventions Latin American History Medieval & Renaissance History Military History The 20th Century Women's History View More By Robert Wilde History Expert M.A., Medieval Studies, Sheffield University B.A., Medieval Studies, Sheffield University Robert Wilde is a historian who writes about European history. He is the author of the History in an Afternoon textbook series. our editorial process Robert Wilde Updated February 05, 2020 Follow this timeline to learn about the series of steps over decades that led to the creation of the European Union. Pre-1950 1923: Pan European Union society formed; supporters include Konrad Adenauer and Georges Pompidou, later leaders of Germany and France.1942: Charles de Gaulle calls for a union.1945: World War II ends; Europe is left divided and damaged.1946: European Union of Federalists forms to campaign for a United States of Europe.September 1946: Churchill calls for a United States of Europe based around France and Germany to increase the chance of peace.January 1948: Benelux Customs Union formed by Belgium, Luxembourg, and Netherlands.1948: Organisation for European Economic Co-operation (OEEC) created to organize the Marshall Plan; some argue this is not unified enough.April 1949: NATO forms.May 1949: Council of Europe formed to discuss closer co-operation. 1950s May 1950: Schuman Declaration (named after the French Foreign Minister) proposes French and German coal and steel communities.April 19, 1951: European Coal and Steel Community Treaty signed by Germany, France, Ireland, Luxembourg, Belgium, and Netherlands.May 1952: European Defence Community (EDC) Treaty.August 1954: France rejects the EDC treaty.March 25, 1957: Treaties of Rome signed: creates Common Market / European Economic Community (EEC) and European Atomic Energy Community.January 1, 1958: Treaties of Rome come into effect. 1960s 1961: Britain tries to join the EEC but is rejected.January 1963: Franco-German Treaty of Friendship; they agree to work together on many policy issues.January 1966: Luxembourg Compromise gives majority vote on some issues, but leaves national veto on key areas.July 1, 1968: Full customs union created in the EEC, ahead of schedule.1967: British application again rejected.December 1969: Hague summit to “relaunch” the Community, attended by heads of state. 1970s 1970: Werner Report argues economic and monetary union possible by 1980.April 1970: Agreement for EEC to raise own funds through levies and customs duties.October 1972: Paris Summit agrees on plans for the future, including economic and monetary union and ERDF fund to support depressed regions.January 1973: UK, Ireland, and Denmark join.March 1975: First meeting of the European Council, where heads of state gather to discuss events.1979: First direct elections to European Parliament.March 1979: Agreement to create the European Monetary System. 1980s 1981: Greece joins.February 1984: Draft Treaty on European Union produced.December 1985: Single European Act agreed; takes two years to ratify.1986: Portugal and Spain join.July 1, 1987: Single European Act comes into effect. 1990s February 1992: Maastricht Treaty / Treaty on European Union signed.1993: Single Market begins.November 1, 1993: Maastricht Treaty comes into effect.January 1, 1995: Austria, Finland, and Sweden join.1995: Decision taken to introduce the single currency, the Euro.October 2, 1997: Treaty of Amsterdam makes minor changes.January 1, 1999: Euro introduced in eleven counties.May 1, 1999: Treaty of Amsterdam comes into effect. 2000s 2001: Treaty of Nice signed; extends majority voting.2002: Old currencies were withdrawn, ‘Euro’ becomes the sole currency in the majority of EU; Convention on the Future of Europe created to draw up a constitution for larger EU.February 1, 2003: Treaty of Nice comes into effect.2004: Draft constitution signed.May 1, 2004: Cyprus, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovak Republic, Czech Republic, Slovenia join.2005: Draft constitution rejected by voters in France and the Netherlands.2007: Lisbon Treaty signed, this modified the constitution until it was deemed a sufficient compromise; Bulgaria and Romania join.June 2008: Irish voters reject the Lisbon Treaty.October 2009: Irish voters accept the Lisbon Treaty.December 1, 2009: Lisbon Treaty comes into effect.2013: Croatia joins.2016: United Kingdom votes to leave.