FAQ :: Where did the EU get its start?

The idea for forming the European Union was originally proposed on September 19, 1946, by Winston Churchill in a speech at Zurich University during which he called for a “kind of United States of Europe.” December 17 of that year, the European Federalists Union was set into place in Paris, France. The early United Europe Movement was created in 1947, and was in favor of intergovernmental cooperation as opposed to supranational control.

In 1948, the Western Union Treaty was signed by Belgium, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom and the Organization for European Economic Cooperation (OEEC) was created. In May of 1948, the Europe Congress met in The Hague, The Netherlands, chaired by Winston Churchill. The participants (800 delegates) recommended that councils be created to prepare political and economic integration of European countries. They also advised the adoption of a human rights charter and the creation of a court of justice to ensure respect for the charter.

In 1950, Belgium, France, Luxembourg, Italy, The Netherlands and Germany agreed to pool their coal and steel resources. In September, the European Union of Payments was created.

In 1952, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands sign the European Defense Community Treaty in Paris.

In 1955, The European Community flag was created, a blue field with 12 gold stars arranged in a circle. (This later became the EU flag.)

In 1958, the parliamentary assembly adopted its internal regulation. In October, the European Court of Justice was set up in Luxembourg.

In 1961, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands voiced their wish to set up a political union. Ireland, the UK and Denmark formally applied to join the European Communities.

There were many political, trade and other dealings going on concurrently with the above events and for the next 20+ years. Too much happened to be able to summarize it all here.

On May 29, 1986, the European flag was raised up for the first time, in front of the Berlaymont building, to the European anthem (Ode to Joy from Beethoven’s 9th).

This union evolves into tighter political alignment, eventually becoming the “European Union” in the 90’s and creating the euro and so on.

–For complete history, see the official site of the European Union:Main website: http://europa.eu.intHistory: http://europa.eu.int/abc/history/index_en.htm