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    On May 29th 2005, 54.8% of the French population rejected the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe in a referendum. Three days later, no less than 61.8% of the Dutch voters followed suit. In the following days, commentators wrote that the French non and the Dutch nee made the EU face its biggest crisis ever. EU President Juncker stated that the EU did no longer inspire “dreaming”. Commission President Barroso warned of “permanent crisis and paralysis” in the EU. At the European Council meeting of June 16th and 17th 2005, European leaders agreed to insert a one-year period of reflection in the ratification process. Moreover, the idea of a deadline for ratification was abandonned. After EU members states also failed to agree on the 2007-2013 budget, a higly disappointed Juncker concluded that the EU found itself in a “deep crisis”.
    In comparison to the spring of 2005, the problems the EU faced in 2004 looked relatively easy to solve. However, this is not to say that 2004 should be seen as the calm before the storm. Indeed, the accession of ten new member states and the political agreement on a constitutional treaty made 2004 a milestone in recent EU integration history. Starting from the policy measures taken by the EU members states in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks in Madrid, this contribution focuses on the major political and economic developments in the EU in 2004. Special attention is paid to the elections for a new European Parliament, the Barroso-Commission taking office and the approval of the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe.


Edith Drieskens
Assistente aan het Instituut voor Internationaal en Europees Beleid van de Katholieke Universiteit Leuven.

Bart Kerremans
Hoogleraar aan het Instituut voor Internationaal en Europees Beleid van de Katholieke Universiteit Leuven.
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