The UK, with Ireland and Denmark, joins the EEC, enlarging the community from six nations to nine

The Swedish pop group Abba become first continental Europeans to top the UK charts, with the single Waterloo

Margaret Thatcher, sporting a flags-of-Europe pullover, helps win the day for the EEC in the UK’s first referendum on Europe. British business meanwhile leads the way as the first M&S opens in Paris on Boulevard Haussman and in Lyon

Anglo-French supersonic plane Concorde makes its first commercial flight, in a year otherwise remembered for a protracted heatwave across Europe. Concorde would fly for almost 30 years until a fatal accident in 2000 accelerated its demise

Roy Jenkins, a former chancellor and home secretary, becomes European commission president, a role he holds until 1981

European Council establishes the first precursor to the euro – the European Monetary System based on a European currency unit (the ECU)

New prime minister Margaret Thatcher, hitherto a Europhile, demands money back from the EEC. Britons get a taste of EU democracy with the first European parliamentary elections

Charles and Diana fever sweeps France, making the covers of magazines week in, week out

Bucks Fizz, a foursome from south-east England, win the Eurovision song contest in Dublin, reviving the competition’s popularity in the UK and doing much to cement Britain’s reputation for fun on the continent

Le Gavroche becomes first UK restaurant to win three Michelin stars, a sign of growing European sophistication in British fine dining

As British unemployment rises and Thatcher is re-elected, ITV broadcasts first episode of Auf Wiedersehen, Pet, a comedy about a group of Geordie builders who go to Germany in search of work

A big year for industrial relations in the UK, as British miners go on strike against Thatcher’s plans to close coal mines. Nissan, attracted by UK’s access to Europe, agrees to locate first European manufacturing base in Sunderland. It would go on to produce more than 10m cars at the site

Europe wins the Ryder Cup at The Belfry in Warwickshire – its first victory in the competition

Four different European acts score No 1 hits in the UK (A-ha, Falco, Chris de Burgh and Europe). In the other money-making business, London stock exchange undergoes the Big Bang, ultimately enabling greater cross-border movement of capital

Erasmus programme of university student exchanges established. Over the years, tens of thousands of British students have benefited from its educational – and social – opportunities

As Britain becomes more European in feel, restrictions on pub daytime opening hours are swept away, paving the way for open-air cafes in public spaces. At the same time, Thatcher makes her Bruges speech, the first paean to Euroscepticism

A Year in Provence by the British author Peter Mayle inspires thousands of Britons to seek a new life on the continent, which itself is newly galvanised by the fall of the Berlin Wall

Not for the first, or last, time, Europe unseats a Tory leader, as Thatcher is ousted and replaced by John Major. England’s footballers also meet their match at the World Cup in Italy, defeated on penalties in the semi-final by Germany

European Bank for Reconstruction and Development is set up in new London HQ to help channel investment into eastern Europe

One of lowest points in the UK’s relationship with Europe comes on Black Wednesday, as interest rates rise to 15% and the devalued pound is forced out of the ERM, the system intended to stabilise currency values ahead of monetary union

Maastricht treaty comes into effect, establishing the EU. The treaty paves the way for closer cooperation. Britain opts out of its worker protection provisions, the social chapter

Eurotunnel opens. France’s President Mitterand meets the Queen and says: ‘We have now, Madame, a land border’

First full daily service of Eurostar begins connecting London with Paris and Brussels. Borders come down across Europe as Schengen pact does away with passport checks. UK and Ireland remain outside Schengen

England hosts Euro 96, a tournament that also marks the acceleration of a European influx into the Premier League. In the coming years, many hundreds of players from more than two dozen European countries move to England to play for the biggest clubs

Tony Blair and Labour sweep to power with a modernising pro-European agenda, stirring hopes across the EU of an end to tensions with UK. Chancellor Gordon Brown designs five tests for Britain to join the single currency, which the UK would ultimately fail to pass

The Good Friday agreement, ending the armed conflict in Northern Ireland, is signed, paving the way for a period of peace and rising prosperity. Twenty years later, Northern Ireland would return as a major Brexit stumbling block

Vodafone (UK) and Mannesmann (Germany) join up in the world’s biggest cross-border merger, a sign of deepening European corporate integration at a time when the single currency is launched with 11 member nations and a central bank in Frankfurt

German artist Wolfgang Tillmans is first European winner of Turner prize, a sign of growing cultural exchange. Tate Modern opens in London with a centrepiece sculpture by French-American artist Louise Bourgeois

BMW, which acquired Rover Group in 1994, launches a new Mini, the first ofa series of new models. The German carmaker is one of the most prominent examples of European corporate involvement in the UK

After years of planning, euro notes and coins go into circulation for 300 million people, replacing legal tender in 12 EU countries. Sweden, Denmark and the UK opt to keep their own currencies. Chronic incompatibility between euro nations sparks a crisis in 2010

The influx of European talent into British football reaches a milestone as Cristiano Ronaldo joins Manchester United for £12.2m. EU freedom of movement rules transformed the transfer market for European players

The UK, along with Ireland and Sweden, opens its borders to workers from the new EU eastern European states, attracting hundreds of thousands in the ensuing years. Most other EU states opt to maintain restrictions for seven years

The Albanian writer Ismail Kadare wins the first International Man Booker prize. Kadare says he hopes his win will show that the Balkans can produce more than conflicts and ethnic cleansing

Nigel Farage, first elected to the European parliament in 1999, becomes leader of UKIP, a party he would lead for much of the next decade

Bulgaria and Romania become members of the EU, prompting speculation that thousands would seek new lives in Britain. The government rules that the new citizens are welcome only if they are self- employed or have a job offer

Liverpool is named European capital of culture. Economic recession stalks Europe. Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, visits the UK as London becomes France’s 6th largest city

G20 summit meets in London and is marked by protests over the global banking system as the eurozone crisis flares

Spanish-owned Santander becomes first European bank on the UK high street after buying Abbey

Census shows 579,000 Poles are now settled in the UK, the biggest group among the ‘new’ EU citizens who moved to the UK in 2004 in search of work after the EU’s eastward enlargement. Most of the new arrivals from Poland are skilled and in their 20s

Britain goes wild for sport as London hosts the Olympics. More than 590,000 visitors come to watch the games, most of them from the continent

European commission proposes abolishing mobile roaming charges, reducing costs for millions of users. Under pressure from Ukip, David Cameron promises an EU referendum

The Tour de France’s ‘Grand Départ’ is staged in Yorkshire. Nearly 2 million people overall turn out to cheer. Ukip, led by Nigel Farage and campaigning for the UK to leave the EU, wins 26% of British votes in European parliamentary elections.

Large numbers of migrants and refugees arrive in Europe, most fleeing the conflict in Syria. Germany opens its doors to 1 million people; the UK accepts 20,000 over five years

Voters are given an in/out choice in a Brexit referendum. The result points the UK towards the exit sign, opening an uncertain chapter for the UK and the rest of Europe

The British government invokes Article 50 of the EU treaty, firing the starting gun on the legal process of withdrawal from the union

Commemorations to mark 100 years since the end of WW1; Theresa May resigns as PM after bruising Brexit battles

Boris Johnson’s election win and huge Conservative majority pave way for parliament finally to back withdrawal from the EU



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