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History of the European Union 2010-19

A challenging decade

The global economic crisis strikes hard in Europe. In 2012, the European Union is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Unrest and wars in various countries lead many people to flee their homes and seek refuge in Europe. The EU is faced with the challenge of how to take care of them, while safeguarding their welfare and respecting their human rights. Climate change is at the top of the agenda and leaders agree to reduce harmful emissions. Croatia becomes the 28th member of the EU in 2013. But in a referendum in 2016, the United Kingdom votes to leave the EU.

2010 – Europe tackles the financial crisis

Following the economic crisis that began in 2008, several countries encounter problems with public finances. The 16 EU countries that use the euro back a plan to help them deal with their deficits. The EU helps several countries confront their difficulties and establishes a Banking Union to ensure safer and more reliable banks.

10 December 2012 – EU awarded Nobel Peace Prize

The European Union receives the Nobel Peace Prize at a ceremony in Oslo. The prize recognises the EU's contribution over 6 decades to promoting peace, reconciliation, democracy and human rights.

1 July 2013 – Croatia becomes the 28th EU member

Croatia joins the EU, becoming its 28th member.

All EU member countries and when they joined

*This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244/99 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.

November 2015 onwards – Terrorists strike in Europe

A number of European cities, including Paris, Brussels, Nice, Berlin, London and Barcelona, become the target of terrorist attacks. The European Union and its Member States take action to address all aspects of the terrorist threat.

12 December 2015 – Paris Agreement on climate change

At a UN conference in Paris, 195 countries conclude a new agreement on climate change, with the EU playing a pivotal role. It comprises an action plan to limit global warming to 'well below' 2°C compared to pre-industrial levels.

December 2015 – Over a million people seek asylum in Europe

By the end of 2015, over 1 million asylum seekers have arrived in Europe, many fleeing civil war in Syria and in need of international protection. EU leaders step up efforts to strengthen external border controls and reduce the number of asylum seekers by cooperating with neighbouring states such as Türkiye.

23 June 2016 – United Kingdom votes to leave the EU

In a referendum in June 2016, 52% of voters in the United Kingdom vote for the UK to leave the European Union after more than 40 years as a member. The UK departs on 31 January 2020.

Relations with the United Kingdom

December 2019 – Towards a climate-neutral Europe

Public concern about the climate crisis increases, driven by a growing and active international youth movement. A new Commission takes office with its sights firmly set on making Europe climate-neutral by 2050 through a new growth strategy, the European Green Deal.