and political union of 27 independent member states
which are located primarily in Europe
. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community
(ECSC) and the European Economic Community
(EEC), formed by six countries
in 1958. In the intervening years the EU has grown in size by the accession of new member states
, and in power by the addition of policy areas to its remit. The Maastricht Treaty
established the European Union under its current name in 1993. The latest amendment to the constitutional basis of the EU, the Treaty of Lisbon
, came into force in 2009.
The EU operates through a hybrid system of supranational
independent institutions and intergovernmentally
made decisions negotiated by the member states.
1950 Robert Schuman presents his proposal on the creation of an organized Europe, indispensable to the maintenance of peaceful relations. This proposal, known as the "Schuman declaration", is considered by some people to be the beginning of the creation of what is now the European Union.
1990 Re-unification of Germany. The German Democratic Republic ceases to exist and its territory becomes part of the Federal Republic of Germany. East German citizens became part of the ''European Community'', which later became the European Union. Now celebrated as German Unity Day.
1992 The Maastricht Treaty is signed, leading to the creation of the European Union.
1993 EU - riots in Nørrebro, Copenhagen caused by the approval of the four Danish exceptions in the Maastricht Treaty referendum. Police opened fire against civilians for the first time since World War II and injured 11 demonstrators. In total 113 bullets are fired.
1993 The Maastricht Treaty takes effect, formally establishing the European Union.
1994 In a referendum voters in Sweden decide to join the European Union.
1995 The Kingdom of Sweden and the republics of Austria and Finland are admitted into the European Union.
1995 Latvia applies for membership in the European Union.
1996 The Czech Republic applies for membership of the European Union.
1996 The last occurrence of February 24 as a leap day in the European Union and for the Roman Catholic Church.