From war to peace
Following the First and Second World Wars, Europe had been left in ruins after many years of conflict and war.
On Tuesday 9 May 1950, the French foreign minister, Robert Schuman proposed a union he called The European Coal and Steel Community. The idea had been developed by the French diplomat Jean Monnet. The purpose was to bring the countries together to cooperate on trade and economy rather than waging war on each other. The agreement was put in place on 25 July 1952, and this was the start of what we today know as the EU.
The first countries to join the union were Germany, France, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.