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Monday, March 29, 1999 Published at 17:08 GMT 18:08 UK

World: Europe

The EU's dark hour: Special report

Spring 1999 was supposed to be the European Union's finest hour, as its Economic and Monetary Union finally got underway.

Instead, the union was thrown into turmoil. After a scathing report suggesting corruption and mismanagement in the European Commission, all 20 commissioners were forced to step down.
At the same time negotiations to reform the EU budget were deadlocked, jeopardizing ambitious plans to take in new members from Eastern Europe.

It took a meeting of the EU heads of state and government at the Berlin summit on 24-25 March to resolve the crisis.

EU Budget breakthrough
After 20 hours of non-stop negotiations at the Berlin summit, EU leaders agree on budget reforms - but they are less drastic than originally envisaged.


[ image:  ]
EU crisis Q&A
William Horsley, BBC European Affairs Analyst, answers key questions on the dramatic events in the European Commission.

[ image:  ]
Media reactions to the crisis
European newspapers hailed the resignations of EU commissioners as a rude awakening for democracy in Europe's institutions.

  • Santer gets press lashing

  • [ image:  ]
    Was Jacques Santer out of his depth?
    Many now see Mr Santer as a man who was simply out of his depth in his role as the EU Commission's president, writes Roger Hardy.
  • Santer criticises report findings

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