European Union

The history of the European Union - 2008

The history of the European Union - 2008

2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009



Slovenia takes over the Presidency of the Council of the European Union.
Cyprus and Malta adopt the euro, bringing euro-area membership to 15 EU countries and a population of around 320 million.


The European Year of Intercultural Dialogue 2008 is launched in Ljubljana, Slovenia, by Commission President José Manuel Barroso.


EU approves the launch of a military operation in eastern Chad and north eastern Central African Republic – "EUFOR Tchad/RCA" within the framework of the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP), and in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 1778 (2007).



The Council Political and Security Committee appoints Pieter Feith as EU Special Representative (EUSR) for Kosovo.


Javier SOLANA, European Union High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), is awarded the Peace Prize of the Children's United Parliament of the World (CUPW) for his work in promoting peace and mutual understanding.


European Commission Vice President, Günter Verheugen, launches Enterprise Europe Network, a new and powerful European support network for enterprises.
Yves de Kermabon is appointed Head of the EULEX Kosovo mission.


The Council of the European Union adopts a revised accession partnership with Croatia.


The Council of the European Union establishes the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo - "EULEX Kosovo".



Mrs Androula Vassiliou is nominated as successor to the outgoing commissioner, Mr Markos Kyprianou, of Cyprus.


EU-US Ministerial Troika takes place in Brussels under the Presidency of Mr Dimitrij Rupel, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Slovenia, attended by Mrs Condoleeza Rice, US Secretary of State, Mr Javier Solana, EU High Representative for the CFSP, and Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner.


The 12th EU-Ukraine Cooperation Council meeting is held in Brussels.


The European Parliament celebrates the 50th anniversary of the first meeting of the European Parliamentary Assembly on 19 March, 1958.


A European Council is held in Brussels, Belgium.


The new EU-US air transport ‘open skies’ agreement takes effect; European and American airlines can now fly without restrictions from any point in the EU to any point in the US, and vice-versa.



The new commissioner for health, Mrs Androula Vassiliou, is appointed, following the resignation of fellow Cypriot Markos Kyprianou, who left to take up the post of foreign minister in the new Cypriot government.


The EU and Montenegro sign a bilateral WTO accession agreement.


The 17th EU-Japan summit is held in Tokyo, Japan.


13th ECOWAS-EU Ministerial Troika Meeting takes place in Luxembourg.



The fifth summit between the European Union and Latin America and the Caribbean (EU-LAC) takes place in Lima, Peru.


The third CARIFORUM - EU Troika, and the Mercosur - EU Troika Summits are held in Lima, Peru.
A Nigeria - EU Ministerial Troika Meeting is held in Ljubljana, Slovenia.


18th EU-GCC Joint Council and Ministerial Meeting takes place in Brussels.


46th Meeting of the EC-Turkey Association Council is held in Brussels.
The 1st Cape Verde-EU Ministerial Troika Meeting takes place in Brussels.


The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) celebrates its 50th anniversary with a special commemorative plenary session.



In a referendum in Ireland, 53.4% of the electorate vote against the Treaty of Lisbon, intended to streamline the EU’s institutions and working methods.


Doors open to the three-month international exhibition 'Expo Zaragoza' in Spain. The theme is ‘water and sustainable development’ and attractions include an 80-metre transparent building designed to look like a drop of water. More than 100 countries take part.


A 10-point strategy designed to reduce illegal immigration is proposed by the European Commission. An accompanying proposal aims to award asylum-seekers the same level of protection wherever they are in the EU.


Antonio Tajani is approved by the European Parliament as EU commissioner for Transport, replacing Franco Frattini.


The European Council discusses the future of the Treaty of Lisbon and decides to continue the ratification process. The EU leaders urge international cooperation to deal with rising food and fuel prices.



France takes over the rotating Presidency of the Council of the EU. Priorities include: energy and climate change; the drafting of a pact on migration policy; security and fighting terrorism; agriculture and the future of the Lisbon Treaty.


World leaders meet for a G8 summit in Toyako, Japan. With the active support of the EU they endorse a new target for cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.


A Paris summit launches a new Mediterranean union. Joint projects are intended to strengthen relations between the EU and its neighbours to the south-east.


The former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic is arrested after 13 years on the run. He is sent to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) at The Hague for trial.



Military conflict breaks out between Georgia and Russia. The EU presidency helps negotiate a ceasefire.



EU leaders meet at a summit to discuss the fighting in Georgia and condemn Russia’s ‘disproportionate reaction’.


A major financial crisis hits the world economy. The gravity of the situation is underlined when the US government steps in to bail out mortgage lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Several European banks also experience difficulties.


The European Parliament launches a web-TV service: 'Europarl TV' with programmes in over 20 languages on the big issues and the latest news affecting the EU.



The financial crisis dominates the European Council. EU leaders call for an overhaul of the financial system, including more international supervision, a global 'early warning' system and worldwide regulatory standards to ensure transparency and accountability.


Catherine Ashton is confirmed as the new commissioner for External Trade, replacing Peter Mandelson.


The seventh Asia-EU meeting (ASEM7) results, among others, in a declaration on sustainable development.



The Council launches an EU joint military action to improve maritime security off the Somali coast. Operation Atlanta is a reaction to an increasing number of attacks on vessels by pirates.


Discussions at the EU-Russia summit focused on Georgia, pan-European security and the international financial crisis.


A G-20 meeting takes place to discuss the global financial crisis. Leaders agree to implement reforms that will strengthen financial markets, introduce more risk management, and help emerging and developing countries to access finance during the economic downturn.



Brussels summit – agreement reached on climate action, support for the economy and a response to financial crisis. A plan is agreed for Ireland to ratify the Lisbon treaty.


The EU welcomes Switzerland to its 'Schengen area', which allows people to travel between countries without border checks whilst ensuring increased police cooperation.


The European Parliament’s Sakharov prize is awarded to jailed Chinese dissident Hu Jia.

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