Mário Soares, Prime Minister of Portugal in 1986, signs the EEC accession treaty in Jerónimos


Portugal’s Journey in the European Union

04 Dec · 14h30

© Christian Lambiotte, European Communities, 1985

Portugal in the European Union

From joining the European Economic Community (EEC), the Schengen Area and the single currency, Portugal has always kept pace with and been committed to the European project as a whole. Here is a chronological account of the main events and contributions made by our country.


28 March 1977

The Portuguese Ministry of Foreign Affairs sends a letter to the President of the Council requesting that Portugal be allowed to join the European Economic Community (EEC).


6 June 1978

The EEC Council of Ministers unanimously approves Portugal's request. 


18 December 1980

Pre-accession agreement signed between the Portuguese Republic and the European Economic Community, allocating funds for the development of the country. 


17 November 1982

A European Parliament resolution expresses the will to implement the integration of Portugal and Spain.


24 October 1984

The Portuguese Government, the European Commission and the Council sign a Joint Declaration confirming the EEC’s new enlargement on 1 January 1986.

18 December 1984

Second pre-accession agreement, allocating financial support for the farming and fishing sectors.


11 June 1985

Council’s decision to accept Portugal and Spain’s integration in the European Coal and Steel Community, the European Atomic Energy Community and the European Economic Community. 

12 June 1985

The Treaty of Accession of Portugal to the European Communities is signed in Lisbon, in the Monastery of the Hieronymites (Mosteiro dos Jerónimos).

“ For Portugal, joining the EEC represents a crucial step towards a progressive and modern future. But let us not assume that this is an easy step. It will demand a great deal from the Portuguese people, even as it opens up vast development opportunities for us. ”

Mário Soares, then-Prime Minister of Portugal, at the signing ceremony


1 January 1986

The Treaty of Accession comes into force.


1 January 1992

Portugal assumes the first presidency of the Council of the European Union, for the first semester of 1992, under the motto “Towards the European Union”. The Portuguese Presidency was marked by the Treaty on European Union, signed in Maastricht, and by the Agreement on the European Economic Area, signed in Porto.

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Collection of Treaties of the European construction © European Union, 2017


1 November 1993

When the Maastricht Treaty entered into force, the EEC became the European Union.


26 March 1995

Portugal becomes a member of the Schengen Area.


1 January 1999

Portugal joins the euro area.


23 and 24 March 2000

The European Union is now made up of 15 countries and is under the second Portuguese Presidency; the Lisbon Strategy for employment and social cohesion is approved with the objective of turning the EU into the “most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world”.

7 December 2000

Under a political momentum crucially led by the European Commissioner for Justice, Portuguese António Vitorino, the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union is proclaimed. 


22 November 2004

Former Prime Minister José Manuel Durão Barroso is elected President of the European Commission, the first and so far only Portuguese person to occupy that position. 


13 December 2007

The Treaty of Lisbon is signed in the Portuguese capital; it reforms previous European treaties and constitutes a fundamental EU law. 


1 December 2009

The Treaty of Lisbon comes into force and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union acquires a legal status equivalent to treaties. 


10 December 2012

The European Union is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. 

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Signature of the Nobel Institute Guest Book: Herman Van Rompuy © European Union


4 December 2017

The Portuguese Finance Minister, Mário Centeno, is elected President of the Eurogroup; his term is marked by institutional reforms of the single currency, the implementation of the Banking Union and the beginning of a eurozone budget.


17 to 21 July 2020

Over the course of an Extraordinary European Council meeting held in Brussels, the Heads of State and Government reach a political deal and compromise about the 2021-2027 Multiannual Financial Framework and, for the first time ever, about the issuance of joint debt instruments and the creation of new revenue sources (also known as the Union’s “own resources” to fund a EU Recovery and Resilience Facility in response to the impact caused by the COVID-19 pandemic).

Portugal and the european institutions

Portugal is represented in the European Parliament by 21 members of the European Parliament (MEPs). Portugal attends the meetings of the Council of the European Union under its various forms. At present, the Portuguese Commissioner in the European Commission is responsible for the Cohesion and Reforms portfolio. In addition, Portugal has 12 representatives in the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions. 

This is the fourth time that Portugal assumes the Presidency of the Council of the European Union. The first time was in 1992, six years after it joined the European Economic Community. The second Portuguese Presidency took place in 2000, and the third in 2007; the latest Presidency resulted in the signing of the Treaty of Lisbon.


Image © Photographer Christian Lambiotte, European Communities, 1985