EU Market, Timeline & Harmonization


EU Market Timeline:

1. The European Community (1957)
2. Schengen Visa area (1985)
3. Unified European Market (1992)
4. “New Approach” (1985,1989,1993 & 2010)
5. The Euro born (2002)

The previous EU market was very fragmented with differences in regulations, languages, currencies, market systems and passport areas which made trade difficult and expensive.

Between 1985 and 1993 the European Commission issued what are referred to today as the “European New Approach Directives” in an effort to harmonize & unify the European market.

The Directives are issued by the European Commission giving the Direction (hence their name, “Directive”) of the Commission to the EU member states – all Directives are to be transposed by all member states as National Laws in their own Parliaments; during which process, each EU member state may not extract requirements from the Directive but may add requirements to be enforced in their own territories – hence, creating different implementations of the Directive (such as language requirements). As a result, Europe is slowly moving towards Regulations to replace the Directives – Regulations are EU laws issued by the Commission which are directly applicable in the European Union and do not require to be transposed by the member states parliaments.

28 EU Member States & 4 EFTA countries :
The 28 EU member states & the 4 EFTA countries form what is referred to as the EEA – the European Economic Area. Here below, are the EEA states listed (see map):

Founding fathers [1957]:

The organisation founded in 1957 which is now known as the European Union, originally had six members: Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.

First enlargement [1973]:

Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom join the European Union, raising the number of member states to nine.

Greece joins the EU [1981]:

Membership of the EU reaches double figures when Greece joins. It has been eligible to join since its military regime was overthrown and democracy restored in 1974.

Spain and Portugal become members [1986]:

Spain and Portugal become members.

The fourth enlargement [1995]:

Austria, Finland and Sweden join the EU. The 15 members now cover almost the whole of western Europe.

Largest enlargement so far [2004]:

Ten new countries join the EU: Czech Republic, Estonia, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia. This was the largest single enlargement in terms of people, and number of countries.

Romania and Bulgaria join [2013]:

Two more countries from eastern Europe, Bulgaria and Romania, join the EU, bringing the number of member states to 27 countries.

Croatia joins the EU [2014]:

After Slovenia, Croatia is the second country from ex-Yugoslavia to join the EU. The European perspective remains open to the entire Western Balkans region.

EFTA Countries:

Norway, Switzerland, Iceland, Lichtenstein.

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