Key Stages of the Integration Process
January 4, 1960: The Stockholm Convention on the Establishment of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) was signed by Denmark, Austria, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, Great Britain and Switzerland.
May 3, 1960: EFTA Treaty of December 15, 1961 entered into force: Applications for EC association by Austria, Sweden and Switzerland.
November 10, 1970: Start of the EEC Association Negotiations with Austria, Sweden and Switzerland.
July 22, 1972: EEC-EFTA Free Trade Agreement was signed.
October 1, 1972: EC Interim Agreement between the EC and Austria entered into force.
January 1, 1973: EEC Free Trade Agreement between the EC and Austria, Portugal, Sweden and Switzerland entered into force.
January 1, 1974: ECSC Free Trade Agreement between the ECSC and Austria, Iceland, Sweden, Switzerland and Portugal entered into force.
June 8, 1989: With Resolution E 125, the Lower House of the Austrian Parliament called upon the National Government to apply for membership in the European Communities.
July 17, 1989: The Austrian application for EC membership was presented to the President of the Council of Ministers of the European Communities by the Austrian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Mock.
June 20, 1990: Start of the EC - EFTA negotiations on the establishment of the European Economic Area (EEA) in which the free movement of persons, services, goods and capital is to be implemented.
July 1, 1990: The entry into force of the recently adopted Directive 88/361/EEC of the "Delors Package" on the movement of capital marked the official start of the first of the EC''''s three stages on its way towards the Economic and Monetary Union. October 21, 1990: The EC Commission decided to amend the Treaties of Rome with a view to establishing a political as well as an economic and monetary union.
November 27, 1990: The Presidents of the Member States'''' central banks agreed on a draft charter for the EC Central Bank which provides for the following: the Central Bank assumes the task of safeguarding price stability within the EC, it has to be free from political influence, its responsibility for monetary policy is indivisible and it must not finance government deficits through an expansion of money supply.
December 13 - 15, 1990: The Intergovernmental Conference on Political Union and Economic and Monetary Union was opened in Rome and eventually led to the conclusion of the Treaty of Maastricht.
July 1, 1991: Sweden applied for EU accession
July 31, 1991: The EC Commission adopted a principally positive Opinion ("Avis") on Austria''''s application for accession to the EU.
December 1991: The Transit Agreement between Austria and the EC was initialled in Brussels.
December 9 - 10, 1991: At the EC summit in Maastricht, the Member States'''' Ministers of Finance agreed on the Establishment of the Monetary Union by 1999. Participation in the Monetary Union is linked to compliance with certain convergence criteria.
February 7, 1992: The Treaty on European Union was signed in Maastricht.
March 18, 1992: Finland applied for accession to the EC.
May 2, 1992: The EEA Agreement was signed in Porto.
May 26, 1992: Switzerland applied for accession to the EC.
June 2, 1992: Negative outcome of the referendum on the Treaty of Maastricht in Denmark (50.7% of the votes cast against).
June 18, 1992: Positive outcome of the referendum on the Treaty of Maastricht in Ireland (69% of the votes cast in favour).
September 20, 1992: Positive outcome of the referendum on the Treaty of Maastricht in France (51.5% of the votes cast in favour).
September 23, 1992: With the votes of the government parties, the Lower House of the Austrian Parliament ratified the EEA Treaty.
November 25, 1992: Norway applied again for EC membership. Following Austria and Sweden, Norway is the third EFTA Country to apply for EC membership.
January 1, 1993: Start of the EC Single Market. The Transit Agreement between Austria and the EC entered into force.
February 1, 1993: Start of the accession negotiations between the EC and Austria, Sweden and Finland.
May 18, 1993: Positive outcome of the referendum on the Treaty of Maastricht in Denmark (56.8% of the votes cast in favour).
November 1, 1993: The Treaty of Maastricht on the Establishment of the European Union (EU) entered into force. Integration of the twelve Member States through the European Community (EC), the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and Justice and Home Affairs.
January 1, 1994: EU and EFTA (with the exception of Switzerland and Liechtenstein) joined to form the European Economic Area (EEA). Austria thus became a member of EEA. The EEA Treaty provides for the general free movement of goods, services, capital and persons between EU and EFTA countries. Customs and trade policies towards third countries, however, still remained the individual countries'''' own responsibility. Therefore border controls were not removed and the rules of origin remained in place. The EEA Treaty does not covers agricultural policy and contains the provision that the EFTA countries have no formal say in the formulation of EC legislation.
January 1, 1994: The establishment of the European Monetary Institute (EMI) in Frankfurt marked the beginning of the Second Stage on the way to Economic and Monetary Union. This Institute was devised as a precursor to the European Central Bank and co-ordinated the Member States'''' monetary policy, and monitored the European Monetary System (EMS) as well as the future monetary policy strategy. Until the start of Stage Three of the EMU, the European Monetary Institute had no decision-making power with respect to monetary policies.
March 30, 1994: Conclusion of the accession negotiations between the EU and Austria, Sweden, Finland and Norway.
April 1, 1994: Application of Hungary for accession to the EU.
April 8, 1994: Application of Poland for accession to the EU.
May 1994: Vote of the EU Parliament on the enlargement of the European Union. The agreements between Norway, Sweden and the EU as well as the agreements between Austria, Finland and the EU were adopted with an overwhelming majority.
May 5, 1994: Adoption by the Lower House of the Austrian Parliament of the Federal Constitutional Law on Austria''''s accession to the European Union by 140 to 35 votes. Vote in the Upper House of the Austrian Parliament on May 7.
June 12, 1994: The people of Austria were called upon to decide in a referendum on Austria''''s accession to the European Union. All in all 5.789,610 Austrian citizens were entitled to vote. Including the 64,390 electoral cards sent from abroad, 3.145,981 Austrians voted in favour of accession (66.58%) and 1.578,850 voted against (33.42%). Of those Austrians who voted with electoral cards from abroad, 80.25% voted in favour of and 19.75% against membership in the European Union.
June 24, 1994: Signing of the EU Accession Treaties with Austria, Sweden, Finland and Norway in Corfu.
January 1, 1995: Austria, Sweden and Finland became Members of the European Union.
January 9, 1995: The Austrian Schilling joined the EMS Exchange Rate Mechanism.
April 28, 1995: Austria joined the Schengen Agreement.
May 1, 1995: Liechtenstein joined the EEA.
June 22, 1995: Application of Romania for accession to the EU.
October 27, 1995: Application of Latvia for accession to the EU.
November 24, 1995: Application of Estonia for accession to the EU.
December 14, 1995: Application of Lithuania for accession to the EU.
January 22, 1996: Application of the Czech Republic for accession to the EU.
March 29, 1996: Opening of the Intergovernmental Conference 1996 on the revision of the Treaty of Maastricht which eventually led to the Treaty of Amsterdam.
October 13, 1996: In Austria the first elections to determine Austria''''s 21 Members of the European Parliament were held. As a result of the outcome of the election, the Austrian People''''s Party (ÖVP) obtained 7 seats, the Austrian Socialist Party (SPÖ) 6 seats, the Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ) 6 seats, the Greens and the Liberal Forum (LIF) 1 seat each.
November 25, 1996: Return of the Italian Lira to the EMS Exchange Rate Mechanism at an exchange rate of 990 Lira : one DM.
December 2, 1996: At the Brussels meeting, the EU Member States'''' Ministers of Finance failed to arrive at an agreement on the "Stability Pact". Germany called for an explicit definition of the term "recession" based on a negative GPD growth of -2% against the previous year, to which the other Member States did not agree.
December 13 - 14, 1996: At their Dublin meeting, the EU Member States'''' Heads of Government agreed on the content of the "Stability and Growth Pact", stipulating that in Stage Three of the Economic and Monetary Union the individual Member States must keep their deficits below 3% of the GDP - except in cases of severe economic crises. For the purpose of monitoring budgetary developments, the Member States are obliged to report on their budgetary situation to the EC twice a year. If it is expected that a country''''s deficit exceeds 3% of the GDP, the Council of Ministers will recommend budget consolidation measures to this particular country.
June 16 - 17, 1997: European Council Meeting in Amsterdam. After 14 months of negotiations the contents of the Treaty of Amsterdam were agreed upon on June 18, 1997. A decision was taken to convene an intergovernmental conference with the aim of developing further, against the background of the initial practical experience, some of the areas (such as Justice and Home Affairs as well as the Common Foreign and Security Policy) which were not exhaustively dealt with by the Treaty of Maastricht. It was furthermore deemed necessary to react, at a European level, to key challenges facing EU citizens in the fields of employment, social affairs, environment, health care, and consumer protection. A further objective of this intergovernmental conference was to initiate institutional reforms to be undertaken in the case of EU enlargement. At this conference, Austria for the first time had the opportunity to be involved as a full member in charting the further course of the integration process.
July 15, 1997: The EU Commission adopted its Opinion on the membership applications submitted by the 10 Eastern and Central European countries. Under the heading of "Agenda 2000", the Commission recommended that membership negotiations with Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovenia and Estonia be started in the near future. In the view of the Commission, Romania, Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania and Slovakia did not yet comply with the economic and political membership criteria as defined by the European Council, such as a democratic system, the rule of law, protection of human rights, a functioning market economy as well as the ability to cope with competitive pressure within the EU.
October 7, 1997: The Schengen Executive Committee, which met under Austrian chairmanship in Vienna, put the Convention Implementing the Schengen Agreement for Austria, Italy and Greece into force. Under this agreement controls at Vienna Airport on passengers coming from the EU area were abolished on December 1, 1997. On April 1, 1998 border controls on passengers were abolished at the Schengen internal frontiers between Austria, Germany and Italy.
November 20 - 21, 1997: Special European Council Meeting on employment in Luxembourg. Guidelines for national programmes were defined in an effort to tackle the problem of unemployment and to further employment in the EU. National measures were to be formulated to improve employability, to facilitate business starts - particularly for small and medium sized enterprises, to heighten the adaptability of companies, and to improve equal opportunity in the labour market.
December 1, 1997: Entry into force of the Schengen Agreement thus ending passport controls at airports for passengers from the Schengen area (Germany, France, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, Italy, and Austria); controls at the Austrian and Italian borders were to be abolished gradually by March 31, 1998.
December 12 - 13, 1997: The European Council Meeting in Luxembourg focused on the enlargement process of the European Union and concluded that European Conferences should be held, bringing together the EU Member States and the countries eligible for membership. On this occasion, the future course of action for the EU enlargement process was defined. In parallel to the European Council Meeting, a meeting of the Heads of State and Government as well as of the Foreign Ministers of the associated Central and Eastern European countries and Cyprus took place. The European Council also reaffirmed the time horizon for, and technical steps on the way towards Economic and Monetary Union, the introduction of the euro coins and notes on January 1, 2002, their denomination as well as their technical features, and a reform of the Union''''s policies (Agenda 2000).
March 12, 1998: The 15 EU Member States, the 10 Central and Eastern European candidate countries (Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania) and Cyprus (but not Turkey) took part in the first European Conference. This historic meeting clearly showed that the division of Europe was a thing of the past.
March 15, 1998: The Greek Drachme was the twelfth currency to join the Exchange Rate Mechanism of the European Monetary System. The central rate of the Irish Pound appreciated by 3% against the other currencies in the Exchange Rate Mechanism. The parities between the other currencies remained unchanged.
March 18, 1998: The European Commission presented the legislative texts for Agenda 2000. The legislative package contained legislation on the implementation of the reform proposals for Common Agricultural Policy, the new legal framework for structural policies, the rules governing the new "pre-accession instruments", and the new Financial Perspective for the 2000 to 2006 period.
March 25, 1998: The Commission of the European Union issued its recommendation as to which countries may participate in the Monetary Union, stating that 11 countries (Belgium, Germany, Finland, France, Austria, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain) complied with the convergence criteria and could therefore establish the Monetary Union on January 1, 1999. Greece and Sweden did not yet meet the criteria; for political reasons Denmark and Great Britain did not wish to join the EMU.
March 31, 1998: Following the start of the accession process with all 11 applicant countries on March 30, this date marks the formal opening of membership negotiations with the 5 Central and Eastern European countries (Estonia, Poland, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Hungary) and Cyprus.
May 1- 3, 1998: The special Council Meeting of the EU Heads of State and Government in Brussels confirmed the participation of the above mentioned 11 Member States in Stage Three of the Monetary Union. Moreover, the bilateral exchange rates of the participating currencies, which served as the basis for the determination of the euro conversion rates, were defined. At the same time, the members of the Executive Board of the European Central Bank were appointed and Mr. Wim Duisenberg, a Dutchman, was chosen as its first President.
June 15 - 16, 1998: The European Council in Cardiff was of particular importance for Austria in view of its first Presidency, as its Conclusions supplemented and clearly specified the tasks to be performed in the second half of 1998. The Member States discussed economic, monetary and employment policies, in particular. The Council in its debates on transparency, environment, justice and home affairs as well as on the year 2000 problem gave a new impetus to strengthening the Union''''s closeness to its citizens. The debate on Europe''''s future was also dominated by the issue of closeness to the citizens: In the view of the Council it was necessary for the EU to focus on the issues of particular concern to the citizens of Europe, such as strengthening democratic legitimacy and translating the subsidiarity principle into practice. Therefore, as a first step, an informal meeting between the Heads of State and Government as well as the President of the Commission was to be held under Austrian Presidency. At this meeting, progress made with Agenda 2000 was to be assessed and a timetable for further action was to be set up. It was therefore expected that at the European Council Meeting in Vienna considerable progress would be achieved regarding the main components of this package so that political agreement on the whole package could be reached by March 1999.
July 1, 1998: Start of Austria''''s first Presidency of the EU Council, ending on December 31, 1998.
October 24 - 25, 1998: At a Special Meeting of the Heads of State and Government in Pörtschach, the EU set its course for the future. Future European policies were to be centred on citizens. In order to achieve this goal, the following principles were adopted for the Union''''s future policy: employment as the new priority in economic policies, a new quality of co-operation in the fields of national security, strengthening Europe''''s position as a "global player", improving the instruments serving the citizen''''s interests, and further development of the Common Security and Defence Policy.
November 10, 1998: Under the Austrian EU Presidency, negotiations on the substance of accession were initiated between the EU and Estonia, Poland, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Cyprus.
December 11 - 12, 1998: The Vienna European Council in the Hofburg (former royal winter palace) marked the ending of Austria''''s EU Presidency. The Heads of State and Government adopted the "Vienna Strategy for Europe" which defined the priority tasks to be performed by the year 2000 with concrete timetables. The main components and key issues of Agenda 2000 on which agreement must be reached were identified and the prerequisites for a successful conclusion of the negotiations under the German Presidency were thus created. The European Council welcomed the progress made with respect to the preparation of the negotiations for accession with Slovakia, Romania, Lithuania, Latvia, and Bulgaria and called for continuing and intensifying the ongoing negotiations with Estonia, Poland, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Cyprus. As regards the CFSP, agreement was reached on working out the first Common Strategies for Russia, the West Balkans, the Ukraine, the Mediterranean area - taking particular account of the Barcelona Process - and the Middle East. The European Council approved an Action Plan for an Area of Freedom, Security and Justice and decided to review this Plan under the Finnish Presidency in October 1999. Besides, the European Council agreed on drafting a European Employment Pact at its Cologne meeting. The follow-up to the Special Meeting in Pörtschach re-emphasised the necessity of the practical application of the subsidiarity principle and agreed on a number of supplementary rules for its implementation.
December 31, 1998: End of Austria''''s Presidency of the EU Council
January 1, 1999: Start of Stage Three of the Economic and Monetary Union in 11 EU Member States (Austria, Belgium, Germany, Finland, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain) together with the introduction of the EURO as an accounting currency.
March 16, 1999: Publication of an investigation report by the Comité des Sages, set up by the European Parliament. The report, which reproached the European Commission for mismanagement and failure in performing its duty of supervision, resulted in the collective resignation of all 20 members of the European Commission.
March 24 - 25, 1999: At the Extraordinary European Council meeting in Berlin, the Heads of State and Government agreed on the Agenda 2000 reform package, which provided for reforms of the Common Agricultural and Structural Policy as well as a new Financial Framework for the years 2000 to 2006. This agreement called for strict budgetary discipline, without jeopardising the Union''''s development potential in the coming millennium. By making available funds for the applicant countries, the Union underlined the historic priority of the enlargement. The principle of solidarity between the richer and less favoured Member States remained unchanged, whilst a fairer system of burden sharing among the net payers, including Austria, was introduced. Consequently, Austria''''s net contribution to the EU budget is reduced by a quarter (from 0.43% of the 1999 GDP to approximately 0.31% in the year 2006). Following the collective resignation of the European Commission, the Heads of State and Government agreed to appoint the former Italian Prime Minister Mr. Romano Prodi to the office of President of the Commission.
May 1, 1999: Entry into force of the Treaty of Amsterdam.
June 4 - 5, 1999: At the European Council in Cologne a declaration was made in favour of strengthening the Common European Security and Defence Policy, stating that the necessary decisions to integrate the tasks of the WEU into the EU would have to be taken by the end of the year 2000. On this occasion, the European Council also decided to work out a Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union prior to its meeting at the end of the year 2000. This Charter is then to be solemnly proclaimed by the Council, the European Parliament and the Commission. With respect to institutional reform, which has to be implemented before the forthcoming enlargement of the European Union, the Cologne Summit is to set out the preparatory process, the timetable and the mandate of the next intergovernmental conference. In addition, the European Council adopted the first Common Strategy for Russia and the European Employment Pact which had already been considered by the Vienna European Council.
June 13, 1999: Elections for the 21 Austrian Members of the European Parliament. As a result of the outcome of the elections, the Austrian People''''s Party (ÖVP) obtained 7 seats, the Austrian Social Democrats (SPÖ) 7, the Freedom Party (FPÖ) 5 and the Greens 2 seats.
October 15 - 16, 1999: Following a decision taken at the Vienna European Council, a special meeting of the EU Heads of State and Government on setting up an Area of Freedom, Security and Justice was held in Tampere in Finland. A strong political signal emanated from the Tampere Council: advantage should be taken of the opportunities offered by the Treaty of Amsterdam in order to implement the Vienna Action Plan.
December 10 - 11, 1999: At its Helsinki meeting, the European Council decided to take up accession negotiations with Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Romania and Slovakia in February 2000. Turkey was granted candidate status and the development of a pre-accession strategy was agreed upon. Furthermore, the European Council decided to call an intergovernmental conference at which the Union''''s institutions are to be prepared for its enlargement which is to be concluded by the end of the year 2000. With respect to the Common European Security and Defence Policy, the European Council agreed upon setting up new political and military bodies and structures within the Council which are to enable the European Union by 2003 to carry out EU-led operations for the implementation of the Petersberg tasks (humanitarian activities and rescue operations, peace-keeping tasks as well as combat-force tasks in crisis management, including peace building measures). The European Council announced its intention to address the issues of furthering employment, economic reform and social cohesion at its extraordinary meeting in Lisbon (March 23 - 24, 2000).
February 14, 2000: Start of the accession negotiations with Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Romania and Slovakia. Opening of the intergovernmental conference on preparing the Union''''s institutions for the enlargement.
March 23 - 24, 2000: A special meeting of the European Council dealing with the subject of "Employment, Economic Reform and Social Cohesion - Towards a Europe based on Innovation and Knowledge" is held in Lisbon. The EU Heads of State and Government agree on a strategic goal for the next decade to make the EU the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economic area in the world. An overall strategy is set, which is designed to enable the Union to achieve the conditions needed for full employment, and to strengthen regional cohesion in the European Union.
June 19 - 20, 2000: At its meeting in Santa Maria da Feira, the European Council calls upon the Convention to, inter alia, submit a draft for a European Charter of Fundamental Rights in time for the European Council meeting in October 2000.
October 13 - 14, 2000: At the Biarritz informal meeting of the European Council, the Heads of State and Government of the EU discuss the Institutional Reform (planned completion of work before the European Council in Nice in December 2000), the Charter of Fundamental Rights and recent developments in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia following the election of Vojislav Kostunica as president.
December 7 - 9, 2000: European Council Meeting in Nice, France. The Council reaffirms its wish that the Charter of Fundamental Rights proclaimed jointly by the Council, the European Parliament and the Commission be disseminated as widely as possible amongst the Union''''s citizens. It welcomes the progress made in the accession negotiations and appreciates the efforts made by the candidate countries to establish the conditions for adoption, implementation and practical application of the acquis as well as the progress made in implementing the pre-accession strategy for Turkey. The Council further deliberates on the European Security and Defence Policy, approves the European Social Agenda and discusses innovation and knowledge in Europe, the coordination of economic policies, consumer health and safety, maritime safety, environmental protection, services of general interest, security of Union supplies in certain products, the area of freedom, security and justice, Europe of culture, outermost regions and external relations. The Intergovernmental Conference ends with the political agreement on the Treaty of Nice.
During the Nice European Council the Presidents of the European Parliament, the European Council and the Commission solemnly proclaim the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.
January 1, 2001: Greece joins the euro-zone.
February 26, 2001: Following the European Council meeting held in Nice, France, in December 2000 a new treaty (the Treaty of Nice) is signed. This Treaty amends the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty establishing the European Community and will enter into force after ratification by all Member States.
June 15 - 16, 2001: The European Council Meeting held in Gothenburg, Sweden agrees on a strategy for sustainable development and adds an environmental dimension to the Lisbon process for employment, economic reform and social cohesion. The environmental priorities addressed by the Gothenburg European Council include combating climatic change, ensuring sustainable transport and managing natural resources responsibly.
July 25, 2001: The Commission adopts a White Paper on "European Governance".
September 21, 2001: An Extraordinary European Council Meeting is held in Belgium in order to analyse the international situation following the terrorist attacks of 11 September in New York and Washington, USA, and to impart the necessary impetus to the actions of the European Union. 14 December 2001: The countries forming the euro zone start issuing the "Euro Kits". The citizens are thus given the opportunity to purchase euro coins prior to the official introduction of the euro as legal tender.
December 14 - 15, 2001: The debate on the future of the European Union is launched at the Laeken European Council (held on 14 -15 December) by means of the "Laeken Declaration": In order to continue the debate on the Future of the European Union the Heads of State and Government agree to convene a Convention which is mandated with examining the essential challenges and questions relating to the future development of the Union and ensuring that the preparations for the forthcoming Intergovernmental Conference 2004 are as broadly-based and transparent as possible.
January 1, 2002: The euro coins and banknotes are circulated in the twelve participating Member States: Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain.
February 28, 2002: The euro becomes exclusive legal tender in the twelve participating Member States, the period of circulation in parallel with the national currencies is over. The Convention on the Future of the European Union holds its inaugural meeting in Brussels.
March 15 - 16, 2002: At the Barcelona European Council the Heads of State and Government agree to take measures against the unjustified punitive tariffs on steel introduced by the Unites States of America. A clear external policy declaration on the critical situation in the Middle East is adopted. Moreover, the Heads of State and Government agree on a number of important economic policy strategies, such as the Galileo project, and increasing the overall spending on R&D with the aim of approaching 3% of GDP by 2010; in the field of energy taxation the elaboration of a joint harmonised directive by the end of 2002 is decided. The European Council also reaffirms its strong commitment to implementing the Financial Services Action Plan and achieving fully integrated securities and risk capital markets by 2003 and financial services markets by 2005.
June 21 - 22, 2002: At the second European Council meeting held under the Spanish Presidency, this time in Seville, consultations on asylum and immigration issues, a reform of the Council and the enlargement of the EU top the agenda. Other issues discussed during the meeting include the future of the European Union (inter alia the Convention, the ratification of the Treaty of Nice and the ESDP), the preparation for the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, economic and financial issues and various foreign policy matters.
October 19, 2002: A second referendum on the ratification of the Treaty of Nice is held in Ireland, and this time 63% of the population vote in favour of ratifying the Treaty. Ireland can thus deposit its instrument of ratification and the Treaty of Nice may enter into force as planned.
October 24 - 25, 2002: As provided for in the Final Act of the Treaty of Nice under Declaration 22 on the Venue for European Councils, the first meeting of the European Heads of State and Government under Danish Presidency is for the first time held in Brussels instead of in the Member State holding the Presidency. The central topic of the Brussels European Council is the enlargement of the EU. The issue of Kaliningrad, relations between the EU and NATO and the succession to the "Amber Fox"operation in FYROM are also discussed.
October 28, 2002: An outline draft for a future European Constitutional Treaty is presented to the members of the Convention on the Future of Europe by its President Valéry Giscard d’Estaing and discussed in the plenum. The framework agreement is to represent the basis for shaping the outcome of the discussion within the Convention into a contractual form.
December 12 - 13, 2002: Copenhagen European Council meeting: The accession negotiations with the ten candidate countries are completed in Copenhagen. The Conclusions also include a declaration by Austria and the Czech Republic on the Temelín nuclear power plant calling for the fulfilment of the obligations entered into under the Melk Agreement. Copenhagen thus marks the final stage in a negotiation process unprecedented in both its scope and complexity, the substance of which was set in train under the Austrian Presidency in 1998. The goal is thus that Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia and Hungary will sign the accession treaty in Athens on 16 April 2002 and - following the completion of the individual national processes of approval - join the European Union as full Members on 1 May 2004.
End of December 2002: The Convention on the Future of Europe concludes its "reflection phase"; ten working groups set up to deal with issues such as complementary competences, external relations and further developments in the fields of justice and home affairs have by now presented their final reports. In the year 2002 the plenum of the Convention held a total of 13 working sessions, and 11 working groups on individual issues relating to the debate on the future of Europe were established.
February 1, 2003: The Treaty of Nice enters into force. The provisions included in this treaty represent an important pre-requisite for the smooth functioning of the European institutions following the enlargement.
February 6-7, 2003: The Convention on the Future of Europe now starts to discuss the wording of the individual articles of the European Constitutional Treaty.
April 16-17, 2003 Informal European Council Meeting in Athens. The Accession Treaty with 10 new Member-States is signed.
July 18, 2003 The Convention's "Draft Version establishing a Constitution for Europe" is submitted to the Italian Council Presidency by its President Valéry Giscard d’Estaing
October 4, 2004 Inauguration of an Intergovernmental conference (IGC) aiming at the adoption of the Constitutional Treaty.
May 1, 2004 The Accession Treaty with ten new member-states Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, the Slovak Republic and Slovenia - enters into force.
June 10-13, 2004 6th direct elections to the European Parliament.
June 17-18, 2004 Political Agreement on the "Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe" is reached within the framework of the Intergovernmental Conference. Also, Croatia is granted candidate-status.
July 22, 2004 European Parliament approves José Manuel Barroso's appointment as European Commission President.
October 29, 2004 The Heads of State and Government and Foreign Ministers of the 25 EU-Member-States sign the "Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe" in Rome.
December 16-17, 2004 European Council in Brussels: Following the successful conclusion of the accession negotiations with Romania and Bulgaria (14 Dec 2004) the European Council calls for the finalisation of the Accession Treaty with Bulgaria and Romania with a view to its signing in April 2005.
April 25, 2005 Signature of the EU-Accession Treaty with Bulgaria and Romania
May 11, 2005 The Austrian first parliamentary chamber approves the government bill on the EU constitutional Treaty.
May 25, 2005 The Austrian Second Parliamentary Chamber (Bundesrat) agrees on the ratification of the Constitutional Treaty.
May 29, 2005 In the first binding referendum held on the issue voters in France reject the Constitutional Treaty (54,87% against, 45,13% in favour).
June 1, 2005 In the Dutch referendum 61,6% vote against the Constitutional Treaty.
June 17, 2005 The Austrian instrument of ratification signed by Federal President Fischer on 14 June is deposited in Rome. The Austrian ratification process is completed.
June 17, 2005 Declaration by heads of State and Government on the ratification of the Constitutional Treaty: the time-schedule for ratification is expanded and a "period of reflexion" called for in order to enable a broad debate in all EU-member-States. An overall assessment of the national debates will take place in the first half of 2006 under Austrian EU-Council Presidency.
October 3, 2005 The General Affairs and External Relations Council agrees on starting accession negotiations with Turkey and Croatia.
January 1, 2006: Start of Austria's Presidency of the EU Council.
March 23-24, 2006: The European Council confirms at its Spring Council meeting the relaunched Lisbon strategy and defines specific areas for priority actions concerning investment in knowledge and innovation, business potential, especially of SMEs, and employment of priority categories as well as the definition of an Energy Policy for Europe.
May 12-13, 2006: The fourth EU-LAC Summit takes place in Vienna reiterating the commitment of both regions to strengthen the bi-regional strategic association. Heads of State decided in particular, to launch negotiations for an Association Agreement between the EU and Central America and paved the way for negotiations for an association agreement between the EU and the Andean Community.
June 16-17, 2006: The European Council agrees on a two-track approach for the Constitutional Process. On the one hand, best use should be made of the possibilities offered by the existing treaties in order to deliver concrete results that meet the expectations of European citizens. On the other hand, the Presidency will present a report to the European Council during the first semester of 2007, based on extensive consultations with the Member States. This report should contain an assessment of the state of discussion with regard to the Constitutional Treaty and explore possible future developments.
June 30, 2006: End of Austria's EU-Presidency.
December, 15-16, 2006: After intensive negotiations the Heads of Government of the 25 member states reach a last minute agreement on the EU financial perspectives 2007-2013 under UK presidency. The final agreement provides for an increase of the 7-year financial framework up to 862.3 billion euros.
January 1, 2007: The accession of Romania and Bulgaria completes the fifth enlargement round of the EU, raising the number of Member States to 27 and the population within the Union to 492.8 million inhabitants.
March 24-25, 2007: Informal meeting of the Heads of State and Government in Berlin agrees on a Declaration on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the signature of the Treaties of Rome (Berlin Declaration).
June 18-19, 2007: The European Council agrees at its June meeting on the outline of a new Reform Treaty. This Reform Treaty shall be drafted in the framework of an Intergovernmental Conference.
July 23, 2007: The Intergovernmental Conference is formally opened in the margins of theGeneral Affairs & External Relations Council. The IGC is due to complete its work as quickly as possible, and in any case before the end of 2007, so as to allow for sufficient time to ratify the resulting Treaty before the European Parliament elections in June 2009.