The Story of a Union

Visitors to the Parlamentarium, the European Parliament's visiting center, can follow the history of the EU through an interactive exhibition. (Bloomberg)

The destruction after World War II pushed European governments to work together for a future

Europe was one of WW2 most devastating scenarios (1939-1945). Several European countries took part in the war and, at the end of the conflict, Europe was a continent destroyed and ruined.

Years after the end of the war, countries remained divided and distrustful of one another, but they knew that they could not face each other again and cause more destruction. What’s more, the need to create employment and improve the economy pushed governments together to collaborate.

So as to avoid a new war, it was necessary to control the materials that made one possible: steel to make the weapons and the coal needed to run the factories and transports.

For this reason, in 1951 the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) was created, an organization that regulated the production and trade of steel and coal among different countries of the continent.

The ECSC was the seed of today’s EU. In its beginnings, it was formed by six countries: France, West Germany, Italy, Belgium, Luxembourg and Holland.

The fusion of the communities

In 1957, the same countries that were part of the ECSC decided to form a common market, uniting their customs and facilitating the trade of goods. This is how the European Economic Community (EEC) was born.

Euratom, the European Atomic Energy Community, was also created that same year, and nuclear power plants began to be built to make up for the lack of electricity supply.

A few years later, in 1965, the Merger Treaty was signed, creating a single European Community from the three existing communities: ECSC, Euratom and EEC.

The European Community (EC) was the principle of the European Union as we know it today, although the agreement did not come into force until two years later: on July 1, 1967.

The Treaty of Merger is also known as the Treaty of Brussels, because it was signed in the Belgian capital. Today, most European institutions are based in this city. (Getty)

From that moment, other countries start joining the EC: Denmark, the United Kingdom and Ireland in 1973. In 1981, Greece became the tenth member of the union and, in 1986, also Spain and Portugal joined.

In 1986, new cooperation agreements were established through the Single European Act. Countries began to collaborate in areas such as research and technological development, the environment and social policies.

The beginnings of the EU

During the 1980s, more and more countries join the European Community and collaborate in different sectors, not just to trade or do business. Therefore, it was decided to change its name “European Union”.

In 1992, with the signing of the Maastricht Treaty, all the previous agreements were modified to give shape to this new union of countries. European citizenship is established and the creation of a single currency unit is also approved: the euro (which would not enter until the year 2000).

The purpose of this treaty was to strengthen “European democracy” and strengthen the participation of countries when building the EU. However, some experts believe that the Maastricht Treaty served primarily to benefit companies before the European institutions.

In 1995, Austria, Finland and Sweden became part of the European Union, which already has 15 members.

The Treaty of Amsterdam of 1997 serves to create new community laws on employment, justice or foreign policy, in addition to regulating the free movement of European citizens (the so-called Schengen Area).

El espacio Schengen es el área que comprende a 26 países europeos que han abolido los controles fronterizos en las fronteras comunes, también conocidas como fronteras internas, ¿te interesa saber más del tema? Comunícate con nosotros info@voyaemigrar.com No hay que confundir el espacio Schengen con la Unión Europea (UE), ya que hay Estados miembros de la UE que no forman parte del espacio Schengen, mientras hay otros países que están integrados en el espacio Schengen y no pertenecen a la UE. La libertad de circulación entre países del espacio Schengen, puede suspenderse transitoriamente en circunstancias excepcionales, lo que ya ha sucedido en varias ocasiones. En la actualidad forman parte del territorio de Schengen los siguientes países: Alemania, Austria, Bélgica, Dinamarca, Eslovenia, España, Estonia, Finlandia, Francia, Grecia, Holanda, Hungría, Islandia, Italia, Letonia, Liechtenstein, Lituania, Luxemburgo, Malta, Noruega, Polonia, Portugal, República Checa, República Eslovaca, Suecia y Suiza. Cualquier asesoría que requieras en tu proceso migratorio, consúltanos www.voyaemigrar.com #Emigrar #Venezolanosenespaña #EspacioSchengen #Frontera #Procesomigratorio

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In 2004, the EU admits ten new countries and increases its membership to 25: Poland, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, the Slovak Republic and Slovenia.

The last major agreement signed by the EU member countries is the Lisbon Treaty of 2007, which serves to create the figure of the President of the European Council and the High Foreign Affairs Representative of the EU.

Since then, the European institutions have worked to promote the spirit of unity and diversity among the 28 countries that are currently part of the Union (when the Brexit ends and the UK leaves the EU, there will be 27).

Translated by Chaplin’s Languages | Find out more in Junior Report

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