The History of the European Union

The European Union was formed after the Second World War in 1957. It was created for the purpose of bringing the countries of Europe closer together as the leaders of Europe did not want to suffer through another war like World War II ever again. What is now known as the European Union began with only six members and has now expanded to 27. The development of the EU increased cooperation between European nations and paved the way for a single currency to be used throughout Europe: the Euro.

The Paris Treaty (The European Coal & Steel Community)

The European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) was created and officially established in 1951. Through the creation of the ECSC, early members of the EU hoped to improve the economy by creating a common market for coal and steel. This was the first step taken by the EU after WWII. The ECSC was the stepping stone for the European Economic Community (EEC).

The Rome Treaty (The European Economic Community)

The Treaty of Rome was used to form the European Economic Community (EEC). This treaty is sometimes also referred to as the Treaty of the European Community (TEC). Many of the provisions of this treaty are still in effect to this day. The main focus of the treaty was economic cooperation.

The Maastricht Treaty (The Treaty on the EU, Euro currency)

The name of this treaty was actually inspired by the town in Netherlands where those who would sign the treaty gathered. This is the treaty that created the modern version of the EU. It was created by Germany, Greece, Spain, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Belgium, Denmark, and the United Kingdom. The Maastricht treaty was officially signed on February 7, 1992 and went into effect on November 1, 1993.

The Lisbon Treaty (The Treaty on the Functioning of the EU)

EU members met to discuss the Lisbon Treaty in 2002. Although the treaty was signed in 2007, it would not fully go into effect until December of 2009. The purpose of the Lisbon Treaty is to create a more balanced and democratic entity of the EU. The main pillars of the treaty include centralized power, a president and a single foreign policy post, and the extension of powers to the European parliament.

  • Lisbon Treaty Preamble – This is the preamble of the Lisbon Treaty.
  • The Next Steps For Europe – This is a highly detailed article that describes and comments on the Lisbon Treaty.
  • The Success of the Lisbon Treaty – This is a news article from 2007, outlining the benefits of the treaty.
  • Treaty of Lisbon – This article explains why the treaty was put in place, the history of the treaty, and the changes it would bring about for Europeans.
  • The Treaty of Lisbon – This article provides a policy summary as well as the author’s perspective on the potential effects of the Lisbon Treaty.

The European Union has a long and rich history. Though the EU as we know it today is relatively new, the main organization has actually been around since the end of WWII. The original purpose of the EU was to promote economic and political cooperation between the European states. The four aforementioned treaties have helped make the EU the successful entity that it is today.