European Union

The history of the European Union - 2018

The history of the European Union - 2018


2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015 | 2016 | 2017 | 2018 | 2019

January

1

Bulgaria takes over the six-month rotating Presidency of the Council of the European Union for the first time. Its programme identifies priorities in four key areas: the future of Europe and young people; the European perspective and connectivity of the Western Balkans; security and stability; and the digital economy.

1

New rules to prevent tax evasion and money laundering enter into force. They oblige Member States to give tax authorities access to data collected under anti-money laundering legislation.

1

Leeuwarden in the Netherlands and Valletta in Malta share the title of ‘European Capital of Culture’ for one year. To celebrate the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018, both cities will include many projects promoting cultural heritage, highlighting the role of culture in building a shared sense of history and identity.

16

The European Commission presents the first-ever Europe-wide strategy on plastics as part of the transition towards a more circular economy.

19

The EU-China Tourism Year is launched in Venice. It aims to increase visitor flows and investments on both sides as well as to provide an opportunity for European and Chinese communities to get to know and appreciate each other better.

20

The Dutch city of Nijmegen takes over the reins as European Green Capital for 2018. It will act as a role model for sustainable urban development, sharing and promoting best practices.

22

The EU adopts a new strategy for Iraq in order to address the many challenges the country faces following the territorial defeat of Da'esh.

25

The first European Education Summit is held in Brussels in the context of work towards a European Education Area, which will make mobility a reality for all, create a network of European Universities and promote lifelong learning. The summit follows the presentation of a package of proposals to boost key competences and digital skills as well as the European dimension of education.

29

The EU Energy Poverty Observatory is launched in Brussels as part of the Commission's efforts to address energy poverty across EU countries. It is part of the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights and one of the enabling actions that are being put in place to support a just and socially fair clean energy transition.

February

6

The European Commission adopts a strategy for six partner countries in the Western Balkans to join the European Union, with Serbia and Montenegro as front-runner candidates that could potentially be ready to join by 2025.

14

The European Commission sets out various options – and their financial consequences – for a new, modernised, long-term EU budget that delivers efficiently on its priorities after 2020. It also presents ideas that could make the European Union’s work more efficient, and improve the connection between the leaders of the EU institutions and the citizens of Europe.

23

EU-27 leaders hold an informal discussion in Brussels on the long-term budget after 2020 and institutional issues, including the composition of the European Parliament after the UK leaves the EU and the nomination of the President of the European Commission. They also discuss the war in Syria and call for an immediate ceasefire. Brexit, and relations with Turkey are also on the agenda.

28

The European Commission publishes the draft Withdrawal Agreement between the European Union and the United Kingdom.

March

8

The European Commission unveils an Action Plan to enable the financial sector to make use of the rapid advances in new technologies, such as blockchain, artificial intelligence and cloud services. It also proposes new rules that will help crowdfunding platforms grow across the EU’s single market.

14

The Commission presents proposals to make it easier for legitimate travellers to obtain a visa to come to Europe, facilitating tourism, trade and business, whilst strengthening security and mitigating irregular migration risks.

22-23

The spring European Council focuses on economic affairs, in particular on trade. Leaders take note that the EU is temporarily excluded from the US tariffs on steel and aluminium and call for the exemption to be made permanent. They stress their unqualified solidarity with the United Kingdom following the recent nerve agent attack in Salisbury. Leaders also look at other pressing issues including actions by Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean and Aegean Sea, the upcoming EU-Western Balkans summit, and taxation.

At a separate meeting, EU 27 leaders welcome the agreement reached by the negotiators on parts of the legal text of the Withdrawal Agreement, and adopt guidelines on the framework for a future relationship with the UK after Brexit.

28

In line with President Juncker's commitment to a fully-fledged Defence Union by 2025, the Commission and the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy present an Action Plan to improve military mobility within and beyond the European Union.

31

The automatic emergency call system, eCall, becomes mandatory throughout the EU for new cars, with the aim of saving more lives on the road. The system automatically dials 112 - Europe's single emergency number - in the event of a serious accident.

April

1

New EU rules take effect that enable people who buy or subscribe to online content services to continue to watch films or sporting events, listen to music, download e-books or play games when travelling to another EU country.

11

The European Commission proposes a New Deal for Consumers to ensure that consumers fully benefit from their rights under EU law. It will also strengthen the enforcement of these rules, ensuring that authorities have the power to impose deterrent sanctions and consumers can access compensation if their rights are breached.

17

TUIfly ruling: the European Court of Justice rules that a ‘wildcat strike’ by flight staff following the surprise announcement of a restructuring does not constitute an ‘extraordinary circumstance’ that releases the airline from its obligation to pay compensation in the event of cancellation or long delay of flight.

21

The European Union and Mexico reach a deal on a new trade agreement. It will be part of a broader, modernised EU-Mexico Global Agreement and will deepen and broaden the scope of an existing trade agreement signed in 1997.

23

The European Commission proposes a new law to strengthen protection for whistleblowers across the EU. The new law will establish safe channels for reporting both within an organisation and to public authorities.

24-25

The second Brussels Conference on "Supporting the Future of Syria and the region" focuses on humanitarian support and bolstering the UN-led political peace process. The EU and United Nations co-chairs adopt a Joint Declaration reflecting the breadth of the continued international community's engagement for Syrians and neighbouring countries for the coming years.

25

Following the signing of a Declaration of cooperation on artificial intelligence by 25 Member States, the Commission presents a European approach to put this technology at the service of European citizens and boost Europe's competitiveness in this field.

26

The Commission proposes measures to tackle disinformation online, including an EU-wide Code of Practice on Disinformation. The proposal follows a set of operational measures recommended in March to be taken by companies and Member States to further step up work to tackle illegal content online.

May

1

New rules take effect giving better protection to EU citizens living or travelling outside the European Union. They allow EU citizens in distress in a non-EU country to get assistance from any EU embassy or consulate if their own country of origin is not represented. 

1

A new customs agreement between the EU and New Zealand to create a more secure and trade-friendly environment enters into force. The agreement will enable both partners to work together to prevent, investigate and combat breaches of customs rules.

2

The Commission presents its proposals for the EU’s long-term budget for 2021-2027, reflecting the Union’s political priorities and rapid developments in innovation, the economy, the environment and geopolitics.  

3

The EU launches DiscoverEU, a new initiative that gives 18-year-old Europeans the opportunity to discover their continent. Successful applicants benefit from free travel passes to visit between one and four foreign destinations. The aim is enable young Europeans to discover the continent's rich cultural heritage, get in touch with other people, learn from other cultures and as such discover what unites Europe.

9

On Europe Day, the European Commission launches an online public consultation asking all Europeans what direction they want the European Union to take in the future. The unique consultation was prepared by a panel of 96 citizens from 27 Member States who came together to decide what questions to put to their fellow Europeans. It is part of the broader Future of Europe debate launched with the Commission's White Paper on 1 March 2017 and will run until the EU leaders’ summit in the Romanian city of Sibiu on 9 May 2019.

17

The EU-Western Balkans summit takes place in Sofia, Bulgaria. The heads of state or government from the EU Member States and the leaders of the six Western Balkan partner countries reaffirm their commitment to ‘a European perspective for the whole region’. EU leaders agree on the Sofia declaration, with which the Western Balkans partners have aligned themselves. They also adopt the Sofia priority agenda, outlining new measures for enhanced cooperation with the region.

25

A new era of data protection dawns following a major revision of EU privacy rules. The new rules are designed to make sure that the personal information of individuals in the EU is protected no matter where it is sent, processed or stored, even outside the EU.

28

With the increasing amount of harmful plastic litter in oceans and seas, the European Commission proposes new EU-wide rules to target the 10 single-use plastic products most often found on Europe's beaches and seas, as well as lost and abandoned fishing gear.

June

1

The Commission proposes the first-ever EU initiative to address the decline of wild pollinating insects. It is part of the EU’s efforts to halt the loss of biodiversity and degradation of ecosystem services by 2020 and contribute towards commitments made under the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

8

Stronger and more effective trade defence rules enter into force to better protect EU producers and workers. The new rules make the EU better equipped to deal with the challenges of the global economy and unfair competition from imports. 

8-9

Canada hosts the meeting of the G7 heads of state or government, the forum of the world's leading advanced economies. Discussions focus on economy and trade, security and foreign affairs, advancing gender equality and women's empowerment, and environmental protection. 

12

The Commission opens a competition to develop a European low-cost space launch. The €10 million prize will be awarded to an innovative, commercially viable and low-cost solution to launch light satellites. 

18-24

The first European Cultural Heritage Summit take place in Berlin, as part of the European Year of Cultural Heritage. 

26

EU ministers formally adopt the revision of EU aviation safety legislation. This includes the first ever EU-wide rules for civil drones of all sizes, which lay down the basic principles to ensure safety, security, privacy, data protection and environmental protection.

28-29

At the June European Council, EU leaders discuss migration and call for further measures to reduce illegal migration and prevent a return to the uncontrolled flows of 2015. They also discuss security and defence, as well as economic and financial affairs. At a separate meeting, EU-27 leaders review the state of play of Brexit negotiations. 

July

1

Austria takes over the Presidency of the Council of the EU for the third time after 1998 and 2006. Its programme focuses on three specific areas: security and the fight against illegal migration; securing prosperity and competitiveness through digitalisation; and stability in the European neighbourhood.

1

The EU celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Customs Union with events at airports and schools. The Customs Union has developed into a cornerstone of the Single Market, keeping EU borders safe and protecting citizens from prohibited and dangerous goods such as weapons and drugs.

1

New EU rules that ensure better protection for holidaymakers enter into force. As well as stronger rights for consumers booking traditional package holidays, the new rules also protect those who book other forms of combined travel. 

9

Strengthened EU rules to prevent money laundering and tackle risks of terrorist financing enter into force.

9

New energy performance rules enter into force with huge potential for efficiency gains in the EU building sector, the largest single energy consumer in Europe.

10

The EU and NATO sign a joint declaration reconfirming the two organisations’ commitment to deepen and broaden their cooperation for the security of their citizens.

17

The EU and Japan sign a landmark trade deal, the biggest ever negotiated by the EU, and a strategic partnership agreement for enhanced cooperation across a range of areas. The EU and Japan also conclude negotiations agreeing to recognise each other's data protection systems as 'equivalent'.

18

The European Commission fines Google €4.34 billion for imposing illegal restrictions on Android device manufacturers and mobile network operators to strengthen dominance of its search engine.

21

New rules to ensure financial stability and investor protection become applicable. They aim to ensure that money market funds, which are used by the corporate sector, universities, hospitals and investors to manage their surplus cash, are better able to withstand market shocks and are able to pay out to investors at all times.

25

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker meets with US President Donald Trump at the White House. The two leaders focus on improving transatlantic trade and forging a stronger economic partnership.

August

13

A group of 11 research and education networks sign an agreement for a new digital data highway between Europe and Latin America. The agreement is a further step in the creation of an EU–Latin America common research area.

20

Greece successfully concludes a three-year stability support programme with its place at the heart of the euro area and European Union secured. The programme took a coordinated approach to tackle longstanding and deep-rooted structural issues that contributed to Greece experiencing an economic crisis.

September

1

New emissions tests become mandatory for all new cars before they can be driven on European roads.

1

Energy intensive and inefficient halogen light bulbs will no longer be sold across the European Union. The new rules will enable European consumers to save money on their energy bills and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

12

President Juncker delivers his 2018 State of the Union address at the European Parliament in Strasbourg. He outlines his priorities for the year ahead and his vision for how the European Union can continue to build a 'More United, Stronger and More Democratic Union'. He also stresses the need for Europe to become more sovereign so as to be able to play a role in shaping global affairs.

19-20

At an informal meeting in Salzburg, Austria, EU leaders discuss migration and internal security. In a separate meeting, EU-27 leaders review progress in the talks on the UK’s withdrawal from the EU and discuss the way forward.

26

Representatives of online platforms, leading social networks, advertisers and the advertising industry agree on a self-regulatory Code of Practice to address the spread of online disinformation and fake news.

29

New rules on the cross-border use of electronic identification such as ID cards, driving licences and bankcards, take effect in the EU. This will allow EU citizens and businesses to access online services even if they are from a different Member State.

October

1

President Juncker debates with citizens at the 1000th European Citizens' Dialogue in Freiburg, Germany. The regular public debates enable citizens to participate in a free and open discussion about Europe and its policies and future.

12

A new harmonised set of fuel labels appear across Europe giving drivers better information on the suitability of fuels for their vehicles wherever they travel in the EU.

17-18

At a European Council meeting in Brussels, EU-27 leaders review the state of negotiations on the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. They reaffirm their confidence in Michel Barnier as the EU negotiator and note that, despite intensive negotiations, not enough progress has been achieved. At a separate meeting, EU leaders discuss migration and internal security. 

19

The European Court of Justice orders Poland to immediately suspend the application of a new law that lowers the retirement age for Supreme Court judges from 70 to 65. The interim measure comes after the Commission referred the case to the Court. A final judgment will be delivered at a later date.

19

The EU and Singapore forge closer economic and political ties by signing three agreements, taking their political, trade, and investment relations to a new level.

25

Ukrainian film director Oleg Sentsov is named as the 2018 winner of the European Parliament Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. 

31

New EU rules bring more transparency and information on bank fees for consumers, making it easier for them to shop around for the best offers.

November

7

The European Commission sets out a new strategy to protect citizens and the environment from chemicals that alter the functioning of the hormonal system and negatively affect the health of humans and animals.

15

The US Federal Communications Commission decides to grant a licence waiver for Galileo signal reception in the United States. This means that citizens and businesses in the US will be able to benefit from Galileo's state of the art satellite navigation signals – be it for connected cars, smart watches, farming or plane navigation.

23

New rules come into force to protect Europeans, especially young people, from dangerous psychoactive substances. The new legislation will allow Member States to respond much faster to the challenges posed by these new drugs, which can cause serious health and social harm, including acute intoxications and deaths.

25

At a special meeting of the European Council in Brussels, EU-27 leaders endorse the Brexit withdrawal agreement, as presented by the negotiators of the EU and the United Kingdom. They also approve the accompanying political declaration on future EU-UK relations.

December

1

The G20 summit takes place in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The European Union attends as a full member. Leaders adopt a declaration focusing on the future of work, infrastructure for development, a sustainable food future and gender equality.

3

New rules mean European consumers will now be able to shop online in the EU without being blocked or re-routed. The legislation is part of a series of new rules on e-commerce aimed at boosting cross-border online sales in the EU, for the benefit of both consumers and online traders.

3

Stronger rules criminalising money laundering enter into force across the EU. The new rules will ensure that dangerous criminals and terrorists face equally severe penalties for money laundering wherever they are in the EU, with a minimum four-year term of imprisonment. Member States have 24 months to implement the new rules into national law.

7

The Commission announces the first 2 800 EU towns and cities winning vouchers worth €15 000 to set up Wi-Fi hotspots in public spaces. In total, around 8 000 municipalities will be able to benefit from the WiFi4EU scheme by 2020.

10

The EU adopts a new strategy to strengthen cooperation and partnership with India.

11

A terror attack at a Christmas market in Strasbourg, France, leaves five people dead and a dozen injured. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker tweeted “My thoughts are with the victims of the Strasbourg shooting, which I condemn with the utmost firmness. Strasbourg is an excellent symbol of peace and European Democracy. Values that we will always defend.”

12

Parliament approves the EU’s trade agreement with Japan. The vote follows a similar decision taken by Japan's parliament, the National Diet, paving the way for the agreement to enter into force on 1 February 2019.

13-14

At a European Council meeting in Brussels, leaders focus on the EU's long-term budget, external relations, migration and the single market. EU-27 leaders also discuss Brexit and the euro area.

16

At a UN conference in Katowice, Poland, countries adopt a clear rulebook to make the Paris Agreement on climate change work in practice across the world, with the EU playing an instrumental role.

20

New rules to promote the rapid rollout of 5G and other next generation network technologies throughout Europe enter into force. The new legislation includes a life-saving public warning system and price caps for intra-EU calls and text messages.

24

Three key pieces of legislation to facilitate Europe’s clean energy transition enter into force. The new policy framework fixes two new targets for the EU for 2030: a binding renewable energy target of at least 32% and an energy efficiency target of at least 32.5%, with a possible upward revision in 2023. It also introduces the first national climate and energy plans, which outline how Member States will achieve their respective targets.

28

New rules to strengthen the Schengen Information System, Europe's most widely used information sharing system for security and border management, enter into force.

2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015 | 2016 | 2017 | 2018 | 2019
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