The European unification process begins. The signing of the Treaties of Rome by Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands marks the foundation of the European Economic Community (EEC).
Europeans vote together. The Members of the European Parliament, which sits in Strasbourg and Brussels, are directly elected for the first time. They had previously been delegated by the national parliaments.
Europe’s union becomes tangible for its citizens. In Schengen in Luxembourg, Germany, France and the Benelux countries agree to end internal border controls. Other countries follow.
Europe gives itself a currency. In initially 12 EU member states, the cash euro is introduced; it had served as book money since 1999. The new European Central Bank (ECB) is based in Frankfurt am Main.
On 1 May Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Hungary, Malta, and Cyprus join the EU. Bulgaria and Romania follow three years later; Croatia in 2013.
The EU presents a united front in the world. With the Treaty of Lisbon, the EU creates the office of the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. A European External Action Service (EEAS) is established.