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#1 2018-11-03 03:05:50

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BRUSSLES, June 24 (Xinhua) -- The British Leave camp won the historic referendum on Friday morning by obtaining nearly 52 percent of ballots, pulling the country out of the 28-nation European Union (EU) after its 43 years of membership.

It triggered market instability and political uncertainty in Europe.

The following is setbacks and progresses in the process of European integration:

After the Second World War, thoughts of rebuilding Europe and eliminating the possibility of another global conflict led France, West Germany, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg to sign the treaty establishing the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) in 1951.

The community is seen as the first step toward European integration.

In 1957, the six members of the ECSC signed the Treaty of Rome to set up another two institutions -- the European Atomic Energy Community (EURATOM) and the European Economic Community (EEC).

The EEC later established itself as the most important of the European communities.

In 1968, the European Community customs union was completed. As the predecessor of the EU, the European Community was created by merging the three communities -- the ECSC, the EEC and the EURATOM.

The bloc experienced the first wave of enlargement in the 1970s-1980s, as Denmark, Ireland and Britain joined the group in 1973, Greece in 1981 and the entry of Portugal and Spain in 1986.

In 1986, the Single European Act was signed aiming to provide the basis for a vast program trying to sort out the problems with the free flow of trade across borders and thus create the single market.

The Maastricht Treaty was signed in 1992, turned the community into the European Union. It paved the way for monetary union and included a chapter on social policy.

However, the Maastricht Treaty went through a rough ride in referendums of various countries. Danes accepted it in a second vote in 1993 while the treaty just passed in France by a small margin.

In 1995, the EU gained three new members: Austria, Finland and Sweden, bringing the total membership to 15. Nevertheless, voters in Norway rejected the joining efforts of the country in a second referendum.

At the same time, a small village in Luxembourg gives its name to the "Schengen" agreement that gradually allows members of the accord to drop border controls expect on the EU's external borders.

In 1997, the Amsterdam Treaty was signed, intensifying European integration and getting the EU prepared for its eastward expansion.

In 1999, the euro came into existance. On Jan. 1 2002, euro notes and coins were introduced in the 12 participating nations.

In 2004, 10 candidate members, including Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Cyprus and Malta, officially joined the EU, marking the biggest-ever enlargement of the bloc.

They were followed by Bulgaria and Romania in 2007.

Also in 2007, the Treaty of Lisbon was ratified by all EU countries before entering into force in 2009.

It allowed the bloc to be able to speak with one stronger voice on the international stage. Belgium's Prime Minister Herman Van Rompuy was elected as the first president of the European Council and Britain's Catherine Ashton, then EC Trade Commissioner, was chosen as the high representative of foreign and security policy, or foreign minister.

In 2009, the Greek government conceded that the country's deficit continued to surge, exceeding 12 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP) that year, well beyond the EU deficit ceiling of 3 percent of GDP.

The sovereign debt crisis then unfolded after the subsequent downgrading of Greece's sovereign credit rating by the world's three major rating agencies. The crisis also affected other debt-plagued eurozone countries like Portugal and Ireland, seriously threatening the euro's stability and the eurozone's economic recovery.

In 2010, the EU finance ministers hammered out a massive rescue mechanism to contain the Greek debt crisis.

At the end of 2011, EU leaders agreed on a new fiscal pact in the euro zone instead of the 27-nation bloc. The efforts to help solve the sovereign debt crisis are still going on.

Croatia became the 28th member of the EU in 2013.

In 2014, the European Parliament voted in favor of Jean-Claude Juncker as the new President of the European Commission.

Juncker initiated the investment plan aiming to bring investments back in line with historical trends in November 2014. The plan was approved in June 2015 and the European Fund for Strategic Investment was launched immediately after. Enditem

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2018-11-03 03:05:50



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