Chronography of the European Union
modified 19 August 2023
See International Union for other
Demography of the European Union
Brexit Polls, https://whatukthinks.org/eu/opinion-polls/uk-poll-results/
Central Bank, https://www.ecb.europa.eu/stats/html/index.en.html
31 December 2020, The UK formally
left the European Union, at 11.00pm UK time.
31 January 2020, The UK began to
leave the European Union. A period of transition, scheduled to end
31 December 2020, began during which trade relations would be sorted out. Many
people suspected this was too little time to complete these negotiations.
20 December 2019, Boris Johnson,
British PM, won a huge majority of 358 to 234 against for his Bill to complete Brexit
on 31 January 2020; larger than his overall Commons majority of 78. From end
January, a transition period is due to begin, for 11 months until 31 December 2020;
however many believed this was too short and might have to be extended.
24 September 2019, Britain�s
Supreme Court ruled that PM Boris Johnson had acted unlawfully when he
prorogued (suspended) Parliament, ostensibly because of upcoming Party
Conferences, but in reality to avert further debate on Brexit. Parliament returned to
sitting the next day.
3 September 2019, UK Prime
Johnson lost significant Parliamentary votes. MPs voted to force him
to ask Brussels for an extension on the Brexit process from 31 October 2019, and not to
hold a General election before this date. 21 Tory MPs rebelled and were
expelled from the Conservative Party by Mr Johnson, who now led a Government with a
minority of 47. Mr
Johnson said if he were compelled by law to ask for an extension
(something he earlier said he would never do), he would also threaten to be so
disruptive to the EU that in fact they would not grant one. Calling an early
General Election in October would, under the Fixed Term Parliaments Act, have
required two thirds of MPs to vote for, which Boris Johnson did not get; it
would also have ensured that Parliament was not operating in full at the end of
October so even if Labour won they could not have voted to extend the Brexit
deadline or avert No Deal. However it was possible that the EU, despairing of
the never-ending Brexit process, would decline to offer an extension anyway,
Macron of France taking this position.
28 August 2019, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson
took the highly controversial move of announcing that the UK Parliament would
be prorogued from 10 September for a crucial 5-week period until 14 October just
before the planned Brexit of 31 October 2019. Opponents of Brexit
claimed that this was a move to suppress any debate in parliament of the Brexit
process, and prevent the passing of a Bill to block a Brexit without a deal
being made with the European Union.
24 May 2019, Mrs Theresa May,
UK Prime Minister, announced her resignation, having failed to secure a Brexit
deal that could get through the UK Parliament.
21 March 2019, After lengthy
talks between Mrs May, UK Prime Minister, and the EU, the EU set new dates for
Brexit. If Mrs May managed to get her deal with the EU accepted at a third vote
in Parliament, Brexit would take place on 22 May 2019. This would give the UK
Parliament time to pass the necessary legislation. However it was possible that
the Speaker, Mr Bercow, would debar a 3rd vote unless the proposal
was �significantly different from the proposal that was heavily defeated two times
already; possibly the new schedule would constitute a �difference�. If,
however, Mrs May could not get her Deal passed, the UK was to have until 12
April to �say what it wanted� � which could be anything from No Deal to
postponing or even cancelling Brexit, revoking Article 50.
11 December 2018, UK Prime
May postponed a Parliamentary vote on her Brexit Deal, which many had derided
as giving up too much to Europe, and quickly met European leaders to try and
renegotiate terms. She failed.
10 December 2018, The European
Court of Justice ruled that a country could unilaterally reverse its exit from
the EU by cancelling its use of Article 50; so long as this had been done
democratically within the country, by a Parliamentary vote or a second referendum.
28 March 2017, Late this evening, UK Prime Minister Theresa May
50, triggering the exit process of the UK from the EU. The letter
was delivered to Donald Tusk (Poland), President of the European Council, on 29
March 2017. The two-year negotiation process was started; however after the
inconclusive UK General Election of 8 June 2017 this timetable was looking
3 November 2016, Britain�s High Court ruled that the Prime Minister, Theresa May,
could not trigger Article 50 to leave the EU without Parliamentary
approval. This ruling was later upheld by the Supreme Court. This opened up the
possibility of Parliament severely delaying or even thwarting the Brexit
26 June 2016 The fallout from the Brexit vote continued. David Cameron
delayed invoking Chapter 50, which would kickstart a 2-year procedure to
negotiate the UK�s withdrawal from the EU. Cameron expressed a preference for
his successor as Tory leader to undertake these negotiations. Meanwhile EU
leaders were pressuring the UK to invoke Chapter 50 soon. The EU leaders feared
further �Exit� referenda in countries like France, The Netherlands, Denmark,
possibly Sweden, in Spain, Greece, and even Germany and the Czech republic. The
Labour leader, Jeremy
Corbyn�s, position seemed precarious as ten of his Cabinet resigned,
over his lacklustre support for the Remain campaign. There was debate within
the UK as to whether the Referendum result was actually binding, especially if
a UK General Election ensued within a few months, which itself would require
legislation to amend the five year rule for such elections. Also by this
afternoon, nearly 3.4 million people had signed a petition asking for a second
Brexit Referendum; some signatures were suspected of coming from outside the UK.
23 June 2016 The UK voted 51.9% to leave the European Union in the
referendum. David Cameron resigned as Conservative Prime Minister. The actual
figures were, OUT, 17,410,742, IN, 16,141,241, Turnout = 72.2%.
19 February 2016, UK Prime Minister David Cameron concluded
negotiations for a deal redefining the relationship between the UK and the EU.
This was a preliminary move before a UK referendum to be held on whether the UK
should leave the EU. On 20 February 2016 the date for this referendum was set
for 23 June 2016.
European refugee crisis �
the Schengen borderless concept begins to unravel
4 January 2016, Sweden introduced border controls on the Oresund Bridge border with Denmark to try
and slow the influx of migrants. In response Denmark introduced border controls on its German border.
The Schengen ideal appeared to be unravelling.
30 June 2015, Europe�s refugee crisis continued To this day,
illegal arrivals from 1 January 2015 totalled over 340,000. 102,342 refugees
from the Middle East and Kosovo had arrived via Hungary; 132,340 from the
Middle East, Pakistan and Afghanistan areas had arrived via Turkey and Greece;
91,302 from Africa had arrived via Libya and Italy, and 6,698 from Syria and
west Africa had arrived via Spain.
19 April 2015, The heaviest casualty incident to date of the
ongoing unofficial migrant sailings across the Mediterranean to Europe occurred
this day, when 770 drowned as their boat sank off the Libyan coast. In
September 2014 500 drowned off Malta, on 12 April 2015 400 died as their boat
capsized off Libya and on 3 October 2013 368 migrants drowned off Lampedusa.
Between January and end-July 2015 187,000 migrants had arrived in the EU;
96,971 arrived in Italy, 88,695 to Greece and 1,674 had arrived in Spain.
The European Union loses
voter popularity, especially in the UK
23 January 2013, In the UK, David Cameron,
Conservative Party Leader, promised to hold a Referendum on Britain�s continued
membership of the European Union if he won the next General Election.
14 November 2012, Protests in Greece, Portugal and Spain against
January 2012, The Caribbean island of Saint
Barthelemy seceded from Guadeloupe; thereby leaving the European Union.
29 October 2004, EU heads of State in Rome signed the Treaty and
Final Act establishing a European
Constitution. However referendums on this
Constitution would be necessary in at least 9 EU States, including the UK.
June 2004, Results came in for elections to the European
Parliament. Turnout was disappointing, averaging just 44.2%, and just 28.7% for
the 10 new (mainly eastern European) States. In the UK UKIP doubled its share
to 7%. Established Governments did badly, especially in France and Germany.
Geographical enlargement of
the European Union
January 2011, Estonia became the 17th country to adopt the Euro
January 2009, Slovakia adopted the Euro, replacing the Koruna.
January 2007, Bulgaria and Romania joined the European Union.
September 2006, The accession of Bulgaria and Romania to the EU on 1
January 2007 was formally approved.
1 May 2004. Ten more countries joined the existing 15 EU members. These
ten were Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Malta, Cyprus, Slovakia, The Czech
Republic, Hungary, and Slovenia.
14 September 2003, In a
referendum, Estonia approved joining the EU.
January 1995, Austria, Finland, and Sweden joined the European
February 1993. The EC began formal talks on admitting Austria,
Sweden, and Finland by 1995.
Further deepening of the
integration of the European Union
1 January 2002, The
majority of countries within the EU abolished their national currencies in
favour of the Euro. Only Britain,
Denmark, and Sweden retained the Pound Sterling and Kroner.
26 February 2001, The Treaty of
Nice was signed by the 15 members of the EU, to enable the bloc to function
smoothly after the 2004 enlargement to 25 member states. The scope of the national veto was reduced, and Parliamentary seat
allocation for a 25-member bloc was agreed.
25 March 1999, The European Union adopted the Common Agricultural Policy,
at a meeting in Berlin.
1998, The European
Central Bank was founded.
1 November 1998,
European Court of Human Rights was instituted.
3 May 1998, The EU confirmed that the
new Eurozone, or European Monetary Union, would start from 1 January 1999. 11 countries,
all the EU members except Britain, Denmark, Sweden and Greece, would be part of
2 October 1997, The Treaty of
Amsterdam was signed, further integrating the European Union.
26 March 1995, In Europe, the Schengen
Convention came into force, allowing free movement between countries,
1 November 1993. The European Union (formerly EC) came into existence as the Maastricht
Treaty came into effect for its 12
2 August 1993. The UK ratified the Maastricht Treaty.
18 June 1993, In a second referendum, Denmark
narrowly approved the Maastricht Treaty.
1 January 1993. The European Single Market came into operation. Apart from the UK, Ireland, Denmark, and Greece,
passports would not be needed at frontiers within the EU. British shoppers
began to take advantage of more much relaxed limits on the amount of alcohol
and tobacco they could bring back from France.
11 December 1992, An Edinburgh Summit of EC
heads of State discussed Denmark�s� rejection of the Maastricht Treaty.
20 September 1992. The Maastricht issue split the EC, with France
voting narrowly for it but Denmark voting narrowly against it. The idea was to
further integrate Europe. British politics was also split with �Euro-sceptics�
on the Conservative back benches harassing John Major, Prime Minister.
7 February 1992, The Maastricht Treaty was
signed, founding the European Union.
18 December 1989, The EC
signed a 10-year trade pact with the USSR.
2 March 1989, All 12 EC nations
agreed to ban the production of CFCs
1 July 1987, The EC passed the Single European Act.
26 May 1986, The EC adopted
a starred flag.
1 January 1986. Spain and Portugal became the 11th
and 12th members of the EC.
19 July 1984, Jacques Delors was nominated as President of
the European Commission from January 1985.
April 1983, The start of the European Round Table (ERT). The Chief executive of Volvo organised
a meeting with the heads of 15 other large European corporations, including
ICI, Fiat, Nestle, Philips and Unilever, to seek ways to �harmonise trade rules
in Europe�. This was to enable these companies to reach the economies of scale
necessary to compete with non-European companies. The ERT presented its
proposals to the European Commission in January 1985. The ERT�s proposals
included the Channel Tunnel and the Denmark-Sweden Bridge, and a Europe-wide
system of high speed trains and road highways. The ERT also wanted, and got,
monetary integration and enlargement of the European Union.
23 February 1982. Greenland,
a Danish territory, with home rule, voted to leave the EC.
1 January 1981, Greece joined the EC.
30 May 1980, EC Foreign
Ministers agreed to reduce Britain�s annual contribution to the EC by around
7 June 1979, First direct elections to the
1 January 1979. The European Monetary System (EMS) was formed.
6 December 1978, James Callaghan announced that Britain
would not be joining the new European Monetary System (EMS).
30 October 1976, The EEC
agreed to introduce a 200-mile fishing zone from 1 January 1977.
13 July 1976, Roy Jenkins became President of the European Commission.
12 March 1974, The EEC Parliament elected its first Communist
1 February 1973, The Common
Agricultural Policy of the EEC came into operation.
1 January 1973. Britain, Denmark, and
Ireland joined the EEC, enlarging
it from 6 to 9 countries.
21 October 1972, An EC Summit in Paris approved the
principle of economic and monetary union by 1980.
17 October 1972. European Communities Bill received Royal Assent.
31 July 1972, Paul
died, aged 73. He had been one of the chief architects of the European Community (EC).
23 April 1972, In a referendum in France, voters
approved the treaty adding Britain, Ireland and Denmark into the Common Market,
with more than 68% in favour.
22 January 1972. Britain,
Denmark, Norway, and Ireland
signed the EEC Treaty � to join January 1973. Norway later
withdrew after a referendum showed a majority of Norwegians were against
membership. See 1 January 1973. As the British Conservative Prime Minister Edward Heath
signed the Treaty of Brussels, he had ink thrown over him by protestors against
the redevelopment of Covent Garden Market.
23 July 1970. Membership negotiations opened in
Brussels between the EEC and the UK, Denmark,
Ireland, and Norway. See 22
vetoed from EEC by De Gaulle; finally accepted, 1962-71
21 May 1971. French President Pompidou said the UK could join the EEC.
See also Great Britain for events relating to UK-Europe
30 June 1970. Britain
began negotiations to join the EEC, following De
Gaulle�s resignation in May 1969.
Ireland, Denmark and Norway also began negotiations to join.
19 December 1967. Second French veto by De Gaulle
membership of the E.E.C. The pound was devalued, and Harold Wilson made his �pound in
your pocket� television speech.
27 November 1967, De Gaulle vetoed Britain�s entry into the EEC.
6 October 1966, The EEC published an adverse report on the UK
economy; the UK
was trying to join the EEC.
10 November 1966, The UK held discussions about entry to the EEC.
14 January 1963. De
Gaulle vetoed Britain�s
membership of the EEC. He said the UK was too close to the Commonwealth and
the USA, and not �sufficiently European�.
18 December 1962, PM Harold
MacMillan of the UK
Kennedy of the USA concluded the Nassau Agreement, at Nassau,
Bahamas.� This allowed the US navy to provide Polaris missiles
for the Royal Navy, normally operating under
NATO command.� This Anglo-US collaboration was resented by General
De Gaulle of France, who saw it as proof that Britain was not
sufficiently European.� Within a month De Gaulle had vetoed UK membership of the EEC, see
14 January 1963.
14 November 1962. Britain resumed negotiations to join
the EEC. Macmillan and De Gaulle
talked at Rambouillet on 15-16 December 1962. However De Gaulle
was intransigent, fearing the UK would import US influence into Europe. De Gaulle
resigned in May 1969.
2 March 1962. The UK
applied to join the European Coal and
Steel Community. On 5 March 1962 the UK applied to join the European Atomic Energy Community.
31 December 1965, The executives of the European Economic Community,
and the European Coal and Steel Community were merged into one executive
8 April 1965, Members of the European Coal and Steel Community,
the Economic Community and Euratom signed a treaty providing for the merger of
these institutions� functions into a single Commission and Council of
3 July 1962. France recognised
Algerian independence, after a
referendum; this also entailed the departure of Algeria from the EU.�
14 January 1962. The European
Economic Community agreed on a Common Agricultural Policy.
8 November 1961. Negotiations with Britain began in Brussels to join
the Common Market.
10 August 1961. Britain first applied for membership of the EEC.
18 July 1961. The six Common
Market countries issued the Bonn
Declaration aimed at political union.
3 May 1960, The
European Free Trade Association
(EFTA) was founded in Geneva. It had seven members; Norway, Sweden, Denmark, the UK, Switzerland,
Austria, and Portugal.
23 February 1959. The European Court of Human Rights sat for
the first time.
16 April 1958. The EEC, the European Economic Community,
was set up. The original six countries were France,
Italy, West Germany, Holland,
See 10 August 1952.
1 January 1958. The European Economic Community came into effect. It then comprised 6 countries; France, West
Germany, Italy, and the Benelux countries.
25 March 1957. Six nations signed the Treaty of Rome to create the Common Market (EEC) and
Euratom. These were Italy,
West Germany, France, and the three Benelux
countries. The founding nations foresaw a union of some 160 million people, to
be developed over 15 years. There was also a shared atomic energy programme,
Euratom. Britain was notably absent,
preferring to create a wider but looser trading network involving the Common
Market, the Commonwealth, and others. Britain feared a supra-national
authority that would erode its sovereignty over domestic affairs. However the
MacMillan, privately believed that the UK should have sought Common
market membership and now began to create the European Free trading Area, EFTA, which included all of western
Europe, and involved less loss of sovereignty for the participating nations. A
faced greater threats to its trade and industry from a developing Common Market.
7 May 1956. The
inaugural meeting of the Western
European Union Council.
5 August 1955, European Monetary Agreement signed.
5 July 1955, The first meeting
of the Assembly of the Western European Union, at Strasbourg, France.
1954, The European Labour Card was instituted.
This enabled any citizen of the six participating nations to work anywhere
within the Community.
31 May 1954, The first Bilderberg Group meeting concluded
(opened 29 May 1954). The group, of politicians, royalty and industrialists,
was named after the hotel where this initial meeting, now held annually, first
met; the Hotel Bilderberg,
Oosterbeek, The Netherlands.
23 April 1954, The US made a
loan of US$ 100 million to the European
Coal and Steel Community to modernise its collieries and power stations. A
smaller loan by the French Government facilitated the relocation
of miners to the most productive pits.
10 January 1953. First
meeting of the European Coal and Steel
10 August 1952. Inauguration
of the European Coal and Steel Community. See
28 April 1949 and 16 April 1958.
25 July 1952, The European Coal and Steel Community came
5 July 1952, The Court of
Justice of the European Coal and Steel
Community became operational.
17 May 1952, The Treaty of Paris was signed by the 6 original
EEC members setting up the European
Defence Community. However the French Parliament subsequently declined to
ratify this move, voting against it by 319 to 264.
13 December 1951, The French
National Assembly ratified the Schuman
Plan. This placed French and German steel iron and coal industries under
one common authority, to which other countries could also accede.
18 April 1951. The European Coal and Steel Treaty was
signed in Paris.
France, West Germany, Italy,
and the Benelux countries signed up.
18 November 1950, At a meeting of the Consultative Assembly
of the Council of Europe, Robert Schuman, French foreign Minister, made
a speech supporting the Pleven Plan
for establishing a European Army.
19 September 1950, The European Payments Union was established.
11 August 1950, In
Strasbourg, France, at the meeting of the Consultative Assembly of the Council
of Europe, Winston
Churchill called for the creation of a European Army. The motion was
passed by 89 votes to 5.
2 June 1950, The UK declined to take part in any European grouping
that would entail a loss of its national sovereignty.
9 May 1950. The Schuman Plan
lead to the establishment of the European
Coal and Steel Community.
7 November 1949, The first meeting
of the Council of Europe; Spaak
was the Chairman.
3 August 1949, The Council of Europe came into being.
3 May 1949. The Council of Europe was established,
after a ten-state conference in London.
16 April 1948. The Organisation
for European Economic Co-operation (OEEC) was set up, see 14 December 1960.
17 March 1948. Britain, France, and the Benelux
countries signed the Brussels Treaty, a pact of economic, military,
political, and cultural alliance. The Treaty came into effect on 25 July 1948.
14 May 1947, A �United Europe� meeting
was held at the Royal Albert Hall in London. Winston Churchill spoke in favour
of a European Union and urged Britain and France to take the lead in restoring
Germany's economy before the German people "turn their thoughts to revolt
19 September 1946. Winston Churchill, in Zurich, urged Franco-German reconciliation
and a �kind of United States of Europe�.
5 September 1929. Aristide Briand, the French Prime Minister, proposed a United
States of Europe.
20 July 1925, Jacques Delors, President of the European
commission, was born.
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