Read the text and choose the correct answer.
The history of the European Union.
1945 - 1959: A peaceful Europe – the beginnings of cooperation.
The European Union is set up with the aim of ending the frequent and bloody wars between neighbours, which culminated in the Second World War. As of 1950, the European Coal and Steel Community begins to unite European countries economically and politically in order to secure lasting peace. The six founders are Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. The 1950s are dominated by a cold war between east and west. In 1957, the Treaty of Rome creates the European Economic Community (EEC), or ‘Common Market’.
1960 - 1969: The ‘Swinging Sixties’ – a period of economic growth.
It is a good period for the economy, helped by the fact that EU countries stop charging custom duties when they trade with each other. They also agree on joint control over food production, so that everybody now has enough to eat - and soon there is even surplus agricultural produce. May 1968 becomes famous for student riots in Paris, and many changes in society and behaviour become associated with the so-called ‘68 generation’.
1970 - 1979: A growing Community – the first Enlargement.
Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom join the European Union on 1 January 1973, raising the number of member states to nine. The last right-wing dictatorships in Europe come to an end with the overthrow of the Salazar regime in Portugal in 1974 and the death of General Franco of Spain in 1975. The European Parliament increases its influence in EU affairs and in 1979 all citizens can, for the first time, elect their members directly.
1980 - 1989: The changing face of Europe - the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Greece becomes the 10th member of the EU and Spain and Portugal follow five years later. In 1987 the Single European Act is signed. There is major political upheaval when, on 9 November 1989, the Berlin Wall is pulled down and the border between East and West Germany is opened for the first time in 28 years, this leads to the reunification of Germany when both East and West Germany are united in October 1990.
1990 - 1999: A Europe without frontiers.
With the collapse of communism across central and eastern Europe, Europeans become closer neighbours. In 1993 the Single Market is completed with the the 'four freedoms' of: movement of goods, services, people and money. In 1995 the EU gains three more new members, Austria, Finland and Sweden. A small village in Luxembourg gives its name to the ‘Schengen’ agreements that gradually allow people to travel without having their passports checked at the borders.
2000 - today: A decade of further expansion.
The euro is the new currency for many Europeans. The political divisions between east and west Europe are finally declared healed when no fewer than 10 new countries join the EU in 2004. Many people think that it is time for Europe to have a constitution but what sort of constitution is by no means easy to agree, so the debate on the future of Europe rages on.
Choose true or false:
1. The six founders of the European Union included United Kingdom.
2. In 1978 all citizens could, for the first time, elect their EU members directly.
3. Spain and Portugal joined the European Union 5 years after Greece.