The European Union treaties
The Maastricht Treaty is regarded as one of the founding documents of the European Union. It was negotiated in December of 1991 and established the EU in its present-day form when it came into force two years later. The treaty laid the groundwork for a common foreign and security policy and allowed member states to cooperate in the areas of justice and domestic policy. It also established an economic and monetary union.
The Treaty establishing the European Economic Community (EEC) and the Treaty establishing the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) are also counted among the EU's founding documents. They were signed in March 1957 in Rome and are therefore known as the Treaties of Rome. The EEC allowed the free movement of goods, services and persons throughout the bloc, while Euratom was set up to facilitate the establishment and development of a nuclear industry in the member states.
More recently, important agreements concerning the EU were made in the treaties of Amsterdam (1997), Nizza (2001) and Lisbon (2007). The latter for instance furnished the European Parliament with additional rights and introduced clearer rules governing the legislative powers of the EU in relation to its member states.
The following interactive graphic shows an overview over the most important milestones in the integration of Europe:
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