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    European Economic Community (EEC)                 Schengen Rules European Community (EC) 'TREVI' Justice and Home Affairs (JHA, pillar II)     Flag of NATO.svg North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) [Cont.] Police and Judicial Co-operation in Criminal Matters (PJCC, pillar II) Flag of France.svg Flag of the United Kingdom.svg
Anglo-French alliance [Defence arm handed to NATO] European Political Co-operation (EPC)   Common Foreign and Security Policy
(CFSP, pillar III) Since the end of World War II, sovereign European countries have entered into treaties and thereby co-operated and harmonised policies (or pooled sovereignty) in an increasing number of areas, in the so-called European integration project or the construction of Europe (French: la construction européenne). The following timeline outlines the legal inception of the European Union (EU)—the principal framework for this unification. The EU inherited many of its present responsibilities from, and the membership of the European Communities (EC), which were founded in the 1950s in the spirit of the Schuman Declaration.

Legend:
  S: signing
  F: entry into force
  T: termination