February 7, 1992 The member states of the European Community sign the Maastricht Treaty in the Netherlands. As a result of the treaty the European Union was created and a plan was laid out for the single European currency, the euro. It meant greater economic integration among the then 12-member European Community, as well as tighter common policies in areas such as policing, counter-terrorism, the military and foreign affairs. Ratifying the treaty proved slightly more complicated than some European leaders had hoped: Denmark needed two referendums and several amendments while the French only narrowly approved it in a referendum, with 51 percent voting to approve the text. In the United Kingdom, a rebellion of ruling party MPs almost brought down the government of John Major, the successor of Margaret Thatcher who called the treaty “a recipe for national suicide.”
Also on February 7: Emile Zola goes on trial for libel for publishing J’Accuse (1898); The Beatles arrive in the USA for the first time (1964); President Jean-Claude Duvalier flees Haiti (1986); Crown Prince Abdullah becomes King of Jordan (1999).
Born on February 7: Charles Dickens (1812), Pete Postlethwaite (1946), Garth Brooks, Eddie Izzard (1962), Steve Nash (1974), Ashton Kutcher (1978).