The Maastricht Treaty comes into effect, formally establishing the European Union (EU). The treaty was drafted in 1991 by delegates from the European Community meeting at Maastricht in the Netherlands and signed in 1992. The agreement called for a strengthened European parliament, the creation of a central European bank, and common foreign and security policies. The treaty also laid the groundwork for the establishment of a single European currency, to be known as the "euro."
By 1993, 12 nations had ratified the Maastricht Treaty on European Union: Great Britain, France, Germany, the Irish Republic, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, Denmark, Luxembourg, Belgium, and the Netherlands. Austria, Finland, and Sweden became members of the EU in 1995. After suffering through centuries of bloody conflict, the nations of Western Europe were finally united in the spirit of economic cooperation.