50 years of the EU - a look back
Europe Day is just behind us, this year marked by the joint celebrations for the 50 years since the signing of the Treaty of Rome and the birth of the EU. The perfect time to look back and rediscover people and moments that have defined these 50 years.
Perhaps the founding fathers spring to mind first, figures such as Jean Monnet, Robert Schuman, and Altiero Spinelli, or perhaps the events are more memorable. The History of the EU website offers an excellent archive in words, photos and video of the last 50 years.
- in 1979, European citizens directly elected MEPs for the first time, to be their voice at European level.
- in 1987 the first students enjoyed a study period abroad under the Erasmus programme.
1993 saw the birth of the single market – the largest domestic market in the industrialised world, and the greater integration introduced by the Maastricht Treaty .
- in 1995 the groundbreaking Schengen Convention led to passport–free travel, and
- the euro arrived in 2002.
Economic prosperity has increased as barriers to trade and free movement have been removed. The expanse of the EU was vastly increased in 2004, when 10 new members joined – and when Bulgaria and Romania became members in 2007 they took the number to 27.
We have indeed come a long way since the Treaty of Rome, and can look forward to still more achievements to come.