Chronology: It only took seven decades: the path to EU's defense pact

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Twenty-five EU governments have agreed a defense pact to mark a new era of greater European military integration after Britain’s decision to quit the bloc.

Below is a list of dates in European defense cooperation:

1949 - The United States, Canada and European countries set up the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), a U.S.-led military alliance.

1950 - The European Defence Community is proposed as a European alternative to NATO to incorporate West Germany and create a European army, a joint budget and shared arms.

1954 - The French parliament rejects the European Army plan. Belgium, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Britain form the Western European Union, a common defense group with a shared air force and joint command.

1993 - The EU’s Maastricht Treaty redefines European integration and introduces a Common Foreign and Security Policy as one of its goals, allowing European governments to take joint action in foreign policy.

1998 - Britain and France agree to common defense in the Saint-Malo Declaration, and London pledges to play a central role in the security and defense policy of the European Union.

2003 - The European Union launches its first independent military mission outside of Europe, Operation Artemis, with United Nations backing, to the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

2004 - The European Defence Agency is formed to help EU governments develop their military capabilities.

2007 - Rapid-reaction forces of about 1,500 soldiers, called EU Battlegroups, are formed under control of the Council of the European Union. However, they are never used.

2009 - The EU’s Lisbon Treaty strengthens the Common Foreign and Security Policy, creating an EU foreign policy chief.

2011 - France and Britain lead a campaign to oust Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi but cannot impose no-fly zone without U.S. aircraft, munitions.

2017 - 25 EU governments launch a defense pact to integrate military planning, weapons development and operations that will rely on a 5 billion-euro ($5.83 billion) defense fund.

Reporting by Robin Emmott, editing by Larry King