On 1 November 1993 the Maastricht Treaty marked the transition of the European Economic Community into the European Union. A number of new economic and legal ties were established between member states under the three pillars of the European Union, reinforcing policy cooperation in areas such as criminal justice, foreign policy and the military. The political landscape in eastern Europe was still undergoing fundamental realignments after the fall of the Soviet Union and its satellite states behind the Iron Curtain. The breakup of Yugoslavia left its constituent states in political turmoil and conflict flared across the region throughout the 1990s. In stark contrast, the dissolution of Czechoslovakia, which split into two states at the beginning of 1993, was a completely peaceful transition. Many of the newly independent states now set their sights on improving relations with the European Union in hopes of becoming member states and moving themselves away from Russia’s sphere of influence.
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