Module 5: History of the European Union

The aim of this module is to provide a historical overview of the European Union so that you can put all of the previous modules you have studied in their historical context. The objective here is not to present a mere chronological collection of facts but to understand the setting and the importance of the major developments of the EU.  However, if you do want a quick overview of the key events in order then please watch the following video.

Click the image to view the video

Click the image to view the video

As you read through this module, think of the other areas that you have studied in this unit. When reading about an institution, think about what it does and why it does it. Likewise, when you read about a treaty or an institutional development try to place it in a theoretical context based on your understanding of the previous modules.

This module will be set out as follows. Initially, we will focus on the context of European integration, both its beginning and the historical setting of its development. Here we will look at some key non EU institutions that you should also be aware of.

Secondly, we will focus on the treaties of the EEC and the EU from the European Coal and Steel Community to the Maastricht Treaty, analysing the context in which they arose and the major developments they brought to the European Community. Thirdly, we shall briefly address the 2004 and 2007 EU enlargements, asking you to reflect on their historical significance. Finally, we shall conclude by further examining some aspects of the Lisbon Treaty and the EU’s subsequent development, including the multiple crises that it currently faces.