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European Parliament Entrance Hall with EU Flag from the Rafters

Timeline of European integration

The European Union has progressively evolved over several decades. This timeline chronicles the addition of new members, major treaty changes and the development of flagship EU policies.

  • 1952 – European Coal and Steel Community

    Treaty of Paris establishes the European Coal and Steel Community between France, (West) Germany, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg

  • 1958 – European Economic Community

    Treaty of Rome establishes the European Economic Community (EEC)

  • 1973 – First Enlargement

    UK, Ireland and Denmark join the EEC

  • 1981 – Mediterranean Enlargement 1

    Greece joins the EEC

  • 1985 – Schengen Area

    Schengen Agreement establishes borderless travel area by 1995

  • 1986 – Mediterranean Enlargement 2

    Spain and Portugal join the EEC

  • 1987 – Single European Act

    Commitment to revitalise and complete the Single Market by 1992

  • 1990 – Unification of Germany

    Integration of East and West Germany brings East Germany into the EC

  • 1993 – European Union

    Treaty of Maastricht creates the European Union (EU) and establishes Economic and Monetary Union (leading to the euro)

  • 1995 – ‘Neutral Countries’ Enlargement

    Sweden, Austria and Finland join the EU

  • 1999 – The Euro

    Creation of the euro currency (in virtual form)

  • 1999 – Preparation for Enlargement

    Treaty of Amsterdam updates the EU institutions in advance of the Eastern enlargement

  • 2002 – Euro in Circulation

    Euro notes and coins enter circulation

  • 2003 – More Institutional Changes

    Treaty of Nice makes further reforms of the EU institutions

  • 2004 – Eastern Enlargement 1

    Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovenia, Cyprus and Malta join the EU

  • 2005 – Constitutional Treaty

    Constitutional Treaty rejected in referendums in France and the Netherlands and is abandoned

  • 2007 – Eastern Enlargement 2

    Romania and Bulgaria join the EU

  • 2009 – EU Institutional Reforms

    Treaty of Lisbon reforms the EU, including the European Council, and incorporates much of the original Constitutional Treaty

  • 2013 – Balkans Enlargement

    Croatia joins the EU

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