The previous week, at the English Club of our school, we have been talking about the history of the European Union. Students who participate to that club had prepared some presentations about this topic and here's what we have learnt;
European union was firstly formed at the 18th of April 1951, based on a treaty, signed by the six countries of Germany, France,
Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg.
This treaty has been known as 'the Coal and Steel Treaty' because the six countries signed the treaty in order to run their heavy industries – coal and steel – under a common management. In this way, none could on its own make the weapons of war to turn against the other, as in the past.
Later, on the 25th of March 1957, the six countries expanded cooperation to other economic sectors by the Treaty of Rome. Based on that treaty, the European Economic Community (EEC) is created.
Some years later, on 1973, the EU adopts laws to protect the environment, introducing the notion of ‘the polluter pays ’ for the first time. Pressure groups such as Greenpeace are founded.Furthermore, on the 1st of January 1973, the six member states become nine when Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom formally enter the EU. Between 7-10 June 1979 EU citizens directly elect the members of the European Parliament for the first time. Previously they were delegated by national parliaments. Members sit in pan-European political groups (Socialist, Conservative, Liberal, Greens, etc.) and not in national delegations. The influence of the Parliament is constantly increasing.
On the 1st of January 1981 membership of the EU reaches double figures when our country, Greece, joins. It has been eligible to join since its military regime was overthrown and democracy restored in 1974. Greece's entrance follow Spain and Portugal on the 1st of January 1986.
The following decade, 1990s, is linked to a very significant fact; the collapse of the Berlin Wall. After that, the eastern part of Germany joins the EU and after 40 years, Germany is united. The 1990s is also the decade of two treaties, the ‘Maastricht’ Treaty on European Union in 1993 and the Treaty of Amsterdam in 1999. People are concerned about how to protect the environment and also how Europeans can act together when it comes to security and defence matters. In 1995 the EU gains three more new members, Austria, Finland and Sweden.
The EU of the 21st century signifies the new currency used in-between the european member states; the euro. EU's member states are increased to 10 by 2004 (Hungary, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia) and to 2 by 2007 ( Romania, Bulgaria). Croatia is the last country to enter EU (2013), so far.
USEFULL LINKS; http://europa.eu/about-eu/eu-history/index_en.htm (Detailed history of EU)
http://europa.eu/about-eu/countries/ ( EU member states)