1945- 1959 The historical roots of the European Union lie in the Second World War. Europeans are determined to prevent such killing and destruction ever happening again. Soon after the war, Europe is split into East and West as the 40- year-long Cold War begins. West European nations create the Council of Europe in 1949. It is a first step towards cooperation between them, but six countries want to go further.
cont. 9 May 1950 — French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman presents a plan for deeper cooperation. Later, every 9 May is celebrated as 'Europe Day'. On 18 April, 1951, Based on the Shuman plan, six countries sign the Treaty of Paris. The six countries agree to run their heavy industries- coal and steel- under a common management. In this way, none can on its own make the weapons of war to turn against the other, as in the past. This agreement becomes known as the ECSC (coal and steel community). The six countries are Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg.
cont. Building on the success of the Coal and Steep Treaty, the six countries expand cooperation to other economic sectors. They sign the Treaty of Rome, creating the European Economic Community (EEC), or ‘common market’. The idea is for people, goods and services to move freely across borders.
Today… The European Union is a unique economic and political partnership between 27 European countries. It has delivered half a century of peace, stability, and prosperity, helped raise living standards, launched a single European currency, and is progressively building a single Europe-wide market in which people, goods, services, and capital move among Member States as freely as within one country.
cont. The EU was created in the aftermath of the second world war. The first steps were to foster economic cooperation: countries that trade with one another are economically interdependent and will thus avoid conflict. Since then, the union has developed into a huge single market with the euro as its common currency. What began as a purely economic union has evolved into an organization spanning all areas, from development aid to environmental policy.
cont. The EU actively promotes human rights and democracy and has the most ambitious emission reduction targets for fighting climate change in the world. Thanks to the abolition of boarder controls between EU countries, it is now possible for people to travel freely within most of the EU. It has also become much easier to live and work in another EU country.