The History of the EU with David Mitchell

The history of the European Union in three minutes The first thing to unify Europe was tectonic shifts then, when humans had finally evolved, much of Europe was unified by the Roman Empire, the Byzantine Empire The Frankish Empire, and the holy Roman Empire, which was like the Roman Empire but a bit more pious. In fact, the patchwork of separate European states we know today, is a relatively recent invention. The United Kingdom only became a United Kingdom in 1707. Modern Belgium and Italy came along later and places like Slovakia and Croatia only popped up again in the 1990’s, along with Latvia, Estonia and The Spice Girls. But the main step towards reunifying Europe, came after the devastating impact of the two world wars, which led to all sorts of new international agreements, borders and structures. After World War 2, Winston Churchill called for the creation of a United States of Europe, to save it from infinite misery and final doom. The first big step towards this was the Schuman Declaration. A declaration declared by French Foreign Minister, Robert Schuman. And what he declared, was that because coal and steel was so vital for war, those industries in France and Germany should be linked together to make war not only unthinkable, but materially impossible, but he said it in French. This led to the European Coal and Steel Community, also joined by Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg. And then the same six countries signed the Treaty of Rome, establishing the European Economic Community, or E.E.C. Though, later it dropped an ‘E’ and became ‘E.C’. The community established a common market for the free movement of goods capital services and people, and was so successful that others wanted in. The UK tried to join in 1963 and in 1967, but both times were blocked by France and General de Gaulle, who just said ‘no’. The UK were finally allowed to join in 1973, along with Denmark and Ireland. And in 1981, Greece was the word. As the community grew, it evolved. Belgium, France, Luxembourg the Netherlands and West Germany signed the Schengen Agreement in 1985, which began the process of removing border controls, and making the free movement of people that bit freer. They also got branding picking a flag, a motto and an anthem. In 1986, Spain and Portugal joined, followed by the freshly reunified Germany in 1990, once the wall had come down and David Hasselhoff had left. Then, in 1992, the big one, the Maastricht Treaty, creating the European Union, also the euro, even if choosing a name took a bit longer, and despite the UK and Denmark holding tight to their own currencies. In the meantime, countries were joining faster than you can say ‘fall of the Soviet block’. The EU itself even won the Nobel Peace Prize, though probably fought over who got to keep it. So, by the time the financial crisis arrived in 2008, the EU was locked together in a single currency with a massively-increased membership. The start of the toughest years yet for the EU with calls for even more reform. But thanks to EU rules on mobile roaming tariffs, at least those calls are cheaper to make. And there’s certainly not a shortage of countries wanting to join, even while others may be looking for the exit. If you enjoyed this clip, feel free to follow the links on screen for more interesting articles and free courses from the Open University.

Comments 21

  • Churchill wanted Europe to unite, but did NOT want any 1 country to have more power than the others. Germany is that 1 country! Watch 'Brexit The Movie'. #BREXIT #EUEXIT

  • Oh look, he had been paid to push the EU. Embarrassing…

  • Latvia and Estonia first popped up in 1918 and regained independence in 91.

  • Fantastic video, I especially liked the part whereby the European Union was compared to that of an empire attempting to dominate Europe

  • europeans were always free to travel between and work in other countries. the french people never voted to join the EU.

  • Dutch people got triggered in this video

  • What about the foundation of Europe!! Back to Babylon;)

  • I thought this was the map for red dead redemption 2

  • After you guys crash out of the European Union, join NAFTA

  • I wish David Mitchell could teach me everything. Wait, is that an option? 🙂

  • 1) we did not evolve
    2) the Israelites were in Europe long before the Romans
    3) Romans brought pagan ism to Europe that angered the Saxon Vikings.
    4) the EU is the worst thing to happen since our Holy Land was given away to the children of the lie.

  • You forgot to mention the EU is using mass immigration to destroy the national identities of the nation states of Europe.

  • That's H1Z1 0:57

  • Its proven we cant trust the EU. They are forcefully promoting illegal immigration for their 'replacement migration' programme. They want to breed Europeans out so that we are weak and dont have culture or identity. Then eventually a one world government will be implemented. We are nothing more than slaves to the elite puppet masters in their ivory towers.

  • hahahah look at luxembourg

  • I wipe my arse on the EU

  • So we… fought to get into the EU, actually beat the bloody French again in order to get in, and now we're leaving because it makes 30% of the country feel good to be separate from the friends, cousins and allies right on our doorstep, because immigrants, and because sovereignty…

    May our children forgive us.

  • Could that nondescript little Luxembourger possibly be a pre-opening hours ca.1965 Jean-Claude Juncker? See how quickly he moves in on France & Germany when he gets a sniff of the alcohol… bit of a giveaway.

  • OH no, another privileged, entitled member of the political elite, explaining for us, no thanks, this will not date well.

  • Pan European movement began in the 1920s, no mention of Kalergi… Niceeee.

  • Its funny why did France reject the U.K. to join? I thought after WW2 they would be in solidarity with the U.K.


    Never in the history will you find another example like EU where people from the different historical backgrounds, speaking different languages and following different customs, traditions and values have come together to work together for the benefit of all Europeans. they have been able to pull this miracle off because they have learnt the lesson that more could be achieved by working together than by working against one another. I wish the world could learn from the European Union.

    The European Union could be the future of humanity if humanity could find the honesty, courage and the wisdom to learn from Europeans. We may resolve all our disputes and issues and turn our regions into heaven by following the model of the European Union.

    bless the hearts of those who created this miracle called "European Union".

    Zulfiqar Tareen, a friend of all, the enemy of none.

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