The European Union: Establishment and Development

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The focus of this chapter is the emergence of the European Communities in the 1950s, their evolution in the three decades thereafter, and the establishment and early development of the European Union (EU) in the 1990s. The chapter explores key developments in the first five decades of European integration and some of the tensions that have shaped them. It considers the ambitions of the architects and supporters of the European Communities and how their hopes and aspirations played out as integration became a reality in the 1950s and 1960s. It looks at how their ambitions grew and how the process then lost momentum in the 1970s before the idea of ‘European union’ was rekindled in the 1980s with the Single European Act (1986) and the Single Market project. These acted as catalysts for a new era of dynamic European integration with the now expanded Communities at its core. The chapter then explores how, through the adoption and implementation of the Treaty on European Union (1992), the European Union was established. The chapter assesses the unique and incomplete form of the new ‘union’ and examines the impact on it of reforms introduced by the Treaty of Amsterdam (1997) and the Treaty of Nice (2000) as the EU sought to prepare itself for further enlargement and the challenges of the initial years of the twenty-first century.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEuropean Union Politics
EditorsMichell Cini, Nieves Pérez-Solórzano Borragán
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages20
ISBN (Print)9780198862239
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022


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