This document is an excerpt from the EUR-Lex website
Glossary of summaries
The EU treaties are binding agreements between EU member countries. They set out EU objectives, rules for EU institutions, how decisions are made and the relationship between the EU and its member countries.
The creation of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) was the starting point for over 50 years of European treaty-making.
The principal treaties are:
These treaties were amended by:
Following difficulties in some EU countries in ratifying a European Constitutional Treaty signed in 2004, European leaders in 2007 agreed to convene an intergovernmental conference to finalise and adopt not a constitution but a ‘reform treaty’ for the EU.
The Lisbon Treaty, signed on 17 December 2007, was ratified by all EU countries and entered into force on 1 December 2009. It introduced changes to the existing treaties, and the EC Treaty became the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU (TFEU).
The founding treaties were also amended at the time of accession to membership of new countries in 1973 (Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom), in 1981 (Greece), in 1986 (Spain and Portugal), in 1995 (Austria, Finland and Sweden), in 2004 (Czech Republic, Estonia, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Malta, Poland, Slovenia and Slovakia), in 2007 (Bulgaria and Romania) and in 2013 (Croatia).