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Milestones of the EU
Maastricht Summit
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1991: Maastricht makes the Union
European leaders meet in the Dutch town of Maastricht and draft the Treaty of the European Union - a major amendment to the 1957 Treaty of Rome and the agreement which officially changes the European Community into the European Union.

The long and difficult negotiations highlight the divides between countries which want more integration and those, particularly the UK, which want co-operation to remain voluntary.

The treaty sets up a timetable for economic and monetary union and lays out the convergence criteria which countries must meet to adopt the single currency.

In the social chapter of the agreement, Europe for the first time introduces policies covering issues such as workers' pay and health and safety at work. Britain negotiates an opt-out from this chapter, meaning it is not part of the main treaty.

By changing the European Community into the European Union, the Maastricht Treaty expands into two new areas. Firstly it takes on a common foreign and security policy and secondly judicial and home affairs, coordinating policy on asylum, immigration, drugs and terrorism.

Maastricht also makes the people of the 12 member countries European citizens for the first time giving them the right to move freely and live in any member state and to vote in local and European elections in any EU country.

Europe also begins work on one of the major challenges that will preoccupy it for the next decade - its eastwards enlargement into the former Soviet block. In December it signs Europe Agreements with Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia.

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