Ireland takes over the six-month rotating presidency of the Council of the EU. Stability, jobs and growth are the Presidency’s three priorities.
The European Commission launches the European Year of Citizens, which will focus on the practical rights and advantages people gain from EU citizenship.
The Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union (popularly known as the 'fiscal compact') enters into force. It aims to strengthen fiscal discipline in the euro area through the 'balanced budget rule' and a correction mechanism.
Marseille (France) and Košice (Slovakia) are the European Capitals of Culture 2013. Both cities will host events to promote their local culture.
The Eurogroup appoints a new President – Dutch Minister of Finance Jeroen Dijsselbloem – for a two and a half year term.
Finance ministers agree in principle to 11 euro area countries introducing a financial transaction tax.
As part of a package of proposals for a new, reformed EU fisheries policy, EU ministers reach informal agreement at the Council on protecting endangered stocks and ending 'discards' - the practice of throwing unwanted fish back into the sea.
The Council reaches political agreement on recommending a 'Youth Guarantee' scheme for the under 25-year olds. This will ensure that they are offered employment, training, further education or an apprenticeship within four months of leaving school or of becoming unemployed.