March 25, 1957
European Economic Community (EEC) and European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) Treaties signed.

April 8, 1965
Treaty merging the institutions of the three European Communities signed.

July 1, 1968
Customs union enters into force. Remaining customs duties in intra-Community trade are abolished 18 months ahead of what was scheduled in the Rome Treaty and the Common Customs Tariff is introduced to replace national customs duties in trade with the rest of the world.

January 1, 1973
Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom join the Community.

February 28, 1975
The Community and the 46 African, Caribbean and Pacific countries (ACP) sign, in Lome, Togo, a Convention, known as Lome I, to replace the Yaounde Conventions.

March 13, 1979
European Monetary System (EMS) becomes operative

January 1, 1981
Greece joins the European Community.

June 29, 1985
European Council endorses "White Paper" plan to complete single market by end 1992.

January 1, 1986
Spain and Portugal join the Community.

July 1, 1987
Single European Act enters into force.

June 26-27, 1989
Madrid European Council endorses plan for Economic and Monetary Union.

October 3, 1990
The five Laender of the former German Democratic Republic enter the Community as part of a united Germany.

October 21, 1991
European Community and European Free Trade Association (EFTA) agree to form the European Economic Area (EEA).

December 11, 1991
A European Council is held in Maastricht, The Netherlands. It reaches an agreement on the draft Treaty on the European Union.

December 16, 1991
Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia sign first Europe Agreements on trade and political cooperation.

January 1, 1993
European single market is achieved on time.

November 1, 1993
Treaty on European Union enters into force after ratification by the member states.

January 1, 1995
Austria, Finland and Sweden join the European Union.

June 17, 1997
The European Council meets in Amsterdam and reaches a consensus on a draft Treaty. It approves various proposals facilitating the smooth passage to the third phase of the Economic and Monetary Union and adopts a resolution on growth and employment.

March 12, 1998
European Conference in London launches Europe-wide consultations on issues related to Common Foreign and Security Policy and Justice and Home Affairs.

March 30-31, 1998
EU opens membership negotiations with Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Poland and Slovenia

May 2, 1998
Eleven EU member states qualify to launch the euro on January 1, 1999.

July 1, 1998
European Central Bank inaugurated in Frankfurt, Germany.

January 1, 1999
EMU and euro launched in eleven EU countries.

September 15, 1999
European Parliament approves new Commission led by Romano Prodi.

June, 2001
Tony Blair, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom defeats his euroskeptic opponents in a landslide election victory.

Jan - July, 2002
The euro will become legal tender and permanently replace national currencies in EMU countries.

December, 2002
European leaders hammered out an agreement to bring 10 new countries into the European Union. Most of the new members will be former Soviet eastern block states.

April, 2003
In Hungary, more than 80% of the voters vote to approved a referendum on EU membership.

June, 2005
France and the Netherlands rejected the EU constitution in separate referendums.

January 1, 2007
Romania and Bulgaria become member states on

July, 2009
The European Union ordered its officials to begin examining Iceland's application to join the bloc just days after it was filed, in a clear sign the island nation will get swift treatment.  A major attraction for supporters of the impending Icelandic EU membership is the euro.  "If there is anything we have learned" from the crisis, said Össur Skarphédinsson, Iceland's foreign minister, "it is the fact that it is extremely difficult for a small country like ours to maintain an independent micro-currency in a world that's globalized."

Nov 19 2009
Belgian Prime Minister Herman Van Rompuy has been selected as the first permanent President of the European Union.  Mr. Van Rompuy is a philosophy graduate with a master's degree ion economics, a devout Roman Catholic, and also attends reported retreats in a Belgian monastery.

December, 2011
In the wake of the global financial and debt crises, the EU began to adopt measures for centralizing governance mechanisms and coordinating fiscal and economic policy. Most notably, in December 2011, EU leaders agreed to the  formation of a so-called fiscal union.  Twenty-five EU countries--all but the UK and Czech Republic--signed on to the  German-engineered fiscal pact (Reuters), which would allow the EU to dictate the national budgetary policies of participating nations.

January 2012
EU signs up to tighter fiscal rules.
Chancellor Angela Merkel cemented her political ascendancy in Europe Monday when 25 out of 27 EU states agreed to a German-inspired pact for stricter budget discipline, even as they struggled to rekindle growth from the ashes of austerity.Only Britain and the Czech Republic refused to sign a fiscal compact in March that will impose quasi-automatic sanctions on countries that breach European Union budget deficit limits and will enshrine balanced budget rules in national law. The accord was eagerly greeted by the European Central Bankwhich has long pressed euro zone governments to put their houses in order.


July 2012

EU leaders also agreed to introduce the $650 billion  European Stability Mechanism--the permanent bailout fund meant to replace the EFSF--a year earlier than planned, in July 2012.

Summer 2012
Germany has resisted calls to issue  joint erobnds (Guardian) --the equivalent of U.S. Treasury bonds--to combat rising borrowing costs throughout the single currency zone. However, eurozone leaders announced plans in the summer of 2012 to push forward with further integration by creating a single banking authority, situated in the ECB, as a first step towards developing a eurozone-wide banking union. When in place, such an oversight mechanism could ultimately allow the eurozone's rescue funds to directly aid Spanish banks, rather than channeling the loans through the already indebted Spanish government.