The following is a chronology of the EU: 

1951: Germany, France, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg form the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC). 

1957: ECSC becomes the European Economic Community. 

1962: EEC unveils its Common Agricultural Policy guaranteeing farmers a minimum income. 

1968: EEC becomes a customs union. 

1973: Denmark, Britain, Ireland join, expanding EEC to nine members. 

1979: EEC launches European Monetary System to stabilize exchange rate fluctuations among national currencies. 

1981: Greece becomes the 10th EEC member. 

1986: Spain and Portugal make it 12. 

1992: EEC becomes European Union, adding a common foreign and security policy to its activities and taking a first step to a single currency. 

1993: EU becomes a single market for goods and services. 

1995: Austria, Sweden, Finland raise EU membership to 15. 

1998: EU opens membership talks with Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Estonia and Cyprus. 

1999: Talks with Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia, Latvia and Lithuania open. Turkey is also named a candidate, but membership talks with Ankara do not immediately begin. 

1999: EU launches the euro. National currencies remain in circulation until 2002 but are given a fixed exchange rate with the euro.