European Union

The history of the European Union - 2016

The history of the European Union - 2016


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January

1

The Netherlands takes over the six-month rotating presidency of the Council of the EU.

1

Wrocław (Poland) and San Sebastián (Spain) are the European Capitals of Culture for 2016. Both cities will host events to promote their local culture.

28

The European Commission announces proposals to tackle corporate tax avoidance by large companies in all 28 EU countries. The Anti-Tax Avoidance Package will hamper aggressive tax planning, increase tax transparency and secure a level playing field for all businesses in the EU Member States.

February

16

The European Commission presents its energy security package. It contains proposals aimed at ensuring that consumers in the EU are provided with sustainable, competitive and affordable energy, requiring a fundamental transition of the energy landscape.

19

Meeting in the European Council, EU leaders agree on a new settlement for the United Kingdom within the EU. This includes the EU further promoting the competitiveness of the economy, that EU countries can temporarily limit some EU migrants' social benefits as well as the introduction of safeguards to strengthen subsidiarity. Prime Minister David Cameron announces that a referendum on whether the UK should remain in or leave the EU will take place on 23 June 2016.

March

7

EU leaders hold a meeting with their Turkish counterparts on strengthening cooperation on the migration and refugee crisis.

17-18

At a European Council meeting in Brussels, EU leaders reach an agreement with Turkey that aims to reduce irregular migration by sea from Turkey to Greece. The agreement states that Turkey will accept the return of people who have already made the sea crossing to Greece; certain refugees from Turkey will be resettled in the EU; and the EU will increase its funding to help refugees in Turkey.

22

A double terrorist attack in Brussels leaves more than 30 people dead and over 300 injured. In a statement, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker calls for the EU to “face the terrorist threat together, and to bring European solutions to questions that concern us all.”

May

18

As part of the 'European Semester', the Commission adopts recommendations for each of the 28 EU countries, offering guidance on 2016-2017 national budgets and economic policies.

23

At the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, the European Union commits to supporting United Nations’ action aimed at improving assistance to people in crisis across the globe and to lessen the impact of future humanitarian crises.

27

Japan hosts the meeting of the G7 heads of state and government, the forum of the world's leading advanced economies. Discussions focus on the global economy, foreign policy and the migration and refugee crisis.

June

23

The people of the United Kingdom vote to withdraw from the European Union by a margin of 52 % to 48 % in a referendum. Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union sets out the procedures to be followed if a Member State decides to leave the European Union. The United Kingdom remains an EU Member State until negotiations on the terms of exit are completed.

28

Meeting in the European Council, EU leaders discuss the political consequences of the UK referendum. They also address other pressing issues including tackling the migratory crisis, deepening the single market to boost growth and jobs, and enhancing the security of the EU by working more closely with NATO.

29

Together with the Presidents of the European Council and of the European Commission, EU leaders meet for the first time without the United Kingdom at the table. They express regret about the result of the referendum but are determined to forge ahead with current priorities.

July

1

Slovakia takes over the six-month rotating presidency of the Council of the EU.

13

EU leaders and their Chinese counterparts meet in Beijing and agree to move forward their strategic partnership. Leaders also agree to have another round of the human rights dialogue between the EU and China later this year in Brussels.

14

A terrorist attack in Nice, France, leaves 87 people dead and over 300 injured.

20

The European Commission presents its Energy Union and Climate Action package aimed at accelerating the transition to low-carbon emissions in all sectors of the economy in Europe.

August

30

The European Commission concludes that Ireland has granted undue tax benefits of up to €13 billion to Apple. This is illegal under EU state aid rules, because it allowed Apple to pay substantially less tax than other businesses. Ireland must now recover the illegal aid.

September

14

In his State of the Union speech, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker outlines his vision for a better Europe - “a Europe that protects, empowers and defends”. The President underlines the need to invest strongly in youth, jobseekers and start-ups.

16

At an informal meeting in Bratislava, Slovakia, 27 heads of state or government meet to begin a political reflection on further development of an EU with 27 member countries, following the UK's decision to leave the Union. They agree on the Bratislava Declaration and Roadmap, which set out the objectives for the coming months.

19

British national Julian King is appointed as Member of the European Commission responsible for 'Security Union'. He replaces Jonathan Hill who resigned following the United Kingdom's June referendum on EU membership.

30

EU ministers approve the ratification by the European Union of the UN 'Paris Agreement' on climate change, agreed in December 2015. This allows the agreement to enter into force.

October

6

The European Border and Coast Guard Agency is officially launched to reinforce the management and security of the EU's external borders.

21

At a European Council meeting in Brussels, EU leaders discuss trade, migration and Russia, including the latter's role in Syria.

25

The European Commission announces plans to overhaul the way in which companies are taxed in the Single Market, in order to deliver a growth-friendly and fair corporate tax system.

30

EU and Canadian leaders meet in Brussels to sign the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, also known as 'CETA'.

November

24

EU and Ukrainian leaders meet in Brussels. Since the last summit in 2015 Ukraine has worked on an ambitious reform agenda, with strong EU support.

30

The European Commission presents a package of measures entitled 'Clean Energy for all Europeans'. It has three main goals: putting energy efficiency first, achieving global leadership in renewable energies and providing a fair deal for consumers.

December

13

The first-ever joint declaration to fast-track a set of EU priority proposals is signed by the Presidents of the EU Parliament, Council and Commission. They pledge, on behalf of their institutions, to make “substantial progress” in key policy areas next year.

15

At a European Council meeting in Brussels, European leaders discuss the most pressing issues including migration, security, economy, youth and external relations.

21

The European Commission adopts a package of measures to strengthen the EU's capacity to fight the financing of terrorism and organised crime in the areas of money laundering, illicit cash flows and the freezing and confiscation of assets.

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