Chronology of Main Events

(between July 2008 and February 2009)


1 July 2008

France takes over the EU-presidency.


7-8 July 2008

At the G8 summit in Toyako-cho the heads of state and government agree on a 50 percent reduction of CO2 emission until 2050.


13 July 2008

At a summit in Paris the heads of state and government from the EU and the Mediterranean and the European Commission launch the “Barcelona Process: Union for the Mediterranean”.


21 July 2008

Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadžić who is accused of war crimes is arrested. The lack of Serbian support for the United Nations war crime tribunal in The Hague has been a longstanding conflict between Serbia and the European Union.


8 August 2008

Between Georgia and Russia a military conflict breaks out.



The opening ceremony of the Olympic games in Bejing: After having earlier suggested to abstain from the ceremony as a sign of protest against the Chinese Tibet policy the French President Sarkozy attends the ceremony “on behalf of the European Union”. Members of the European Parliament oppose this decision.


12 August 2008

Russia and Georgia agree on a six-point plan brokered by French President Sarkozy which shall pave the way for peace. European politicians criticise the plan as being to vague.


1 September 2008

Heads of state and government meet in Brussels to discuss the European relations to Russia. They agree:

  •   to postpone the negotiations about a new partnership agreement with Russia (originally scheduled for the 15 and 16 September) until Russian troops have withdrawn to the positions held in Georgia prior to 7 August.
  •   to contribute to the OSCE observer mission in South Ossetia by sending observers.


7 September 2008

The US government steps in to bail out mortgage lenders “Fannie Mae” and “Freddie Mac”.


8 September 2008

The French President Sarkozy meets the Russian President Medvedev in Moscow. Russia and Georgia agree on implementing the plan from 12 August.


15-16 September 2008

The General Affairs and External Relations Council decides to send an independent civilian observer mission to Georgia under the European Security and Defence Policy.



Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.” files for bankruptcy protection in the US.


1 October 2008

The “European Union Monitoring Mission in Georgia” (EUMM) is deployed.


12 October 2008

The summit of the Euro area countries and the United Kingdom in Paris agrees on a “concerted European Action Plan of the Euro Area countries”.


15-16 October 2008

The European Council in Brussels:

  •   adopts the “European Pact on Immigration and Asylum”
  •   hears the Irish Prime Minister’s analysis of the Irish referendum on the Lisbon Treaty.


18 October 2008

French President Sarkozy, US President Bush and the President of the European Commission Barroso meet in Camp David to discuss the financial and economic crisis.


3-4 November 2008

The “Barcelona Process: Union for the Mediterranean” ministerial conference in Marseille agrees on institutional structures of and a working programme for the “Barcelona Process: Union for the Mediterranean”.


4 November 2008

Barack Obama wins the US presidential elections.


5 November 2008

In his address to the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation the Russian President Medvedev announces the plan to deploy the “Iskander missile system” in the Kaliningrad region as a reaction to the American missile defence system on Europe.


14 November 2008

The EU-Russia summit in Nice is dominated by the Georgian crisis, the security situation in Europe and the world financial crisis. The EU and Russia agree to continue the postponed negotiations about a partnership agreement.


16 November 2008

The first G20 summit on the level of the heads of state and government in Washington agrees on a common statement on the financial and economic crisis.


20 November 2008

The Swedish parliament “Sveriges Riksdag” ratifies the Treaty of Lisbon.


1-12 December 2008

The United Nations Climate Change Conference in Poznań ends with a clear commitment from governments to shift into full negotiating mode next year in order to shape an ambitious and effective international response to climate change.


8 December 2008

The General Affairs and External Relations Council adopts the decision on the launch of the operation “EU NAVFOR Somalia”, which shall protect ships against piracy off the Somalian coast.



French President Sarkozy, British Prime Minister Brown and the President of the European Commission Barroso meet in London with representatives of banks and economists to discuss the current economic crisis.


11-12 December 2008

The European Council in Brussels:

  •   approves a European Economic Recovery Plan, which provides a common framework for the efforts made by member states and by the European Union to tackle the economic crisis.
  •   reaches agreement on the energy and climate change package.
  •   establishes an approach to enable the Treaty of Lisbon to come into force before the end of 2009.


12 December 2008

Switzerland becomes member of the Schengen area and the Dublin system, that aims to determine which member state is responsible for examining an asylum application lodged by a third-country national.


13 December 2008

The operation “EU NAVFOR Somalia” reaches initial operational capability.


17 December 2008

The European Parliament agrees on the energy and climate change package.


1 January 2009

The Czech Republic takes over the EU-presidency.



Slovakia becomes the sixteenth member of the Eurozone.



Russia reduces the gas supply for the Ukraine.


6 January 2009

The Czech Presidency and the European Commission declare in a joint statement the reduction of gas supply for Europe as being completely unacceptable.


7 January 2009

The gas crisis between Russia and the Ukraine escalates: Russia stops the supply with gas through pipelines crossing Ukrainian territory completely.


8 January 2009

The informal General Affairs Council approves a EU declaration on the conflict between Ukraine and Russia about energy security.


11 January 2009

The EU gas observation mission is deployed on the ground and the terms of reference of the mission are signed.


12 January 2009

Extraordinary meeting of the Energy Council takes place. The council evaluates the situation of gas supplies in the member states concerned urges both parties to resume gas supplies to the EU immediately.


18 January 2009

Russia and the Ukraine settle their dispute on gas prices. The contracting partners sign an agreement warranting reduced gas prices for the Ukraine and reduced prices for carrying gas through Ukrainian pipelines for Russia in 2009. 2010 both sides will pay market prices.


20 January 2009

Russia resumes gas supplies to Ukraine and Europe.


28 January 2009

The European Commission sets out its proposals for a global pact on climate change at Copenhagen.


18 February 2009

The first chamber of the Czech parliament “Poslanecká Sněmovna” ratifies the Treaty of Lisbon.