Multiword expressions (MWEs) are known as a “pain in the neck” for NLP due to their idiosyncratic behaviour. While some categories of MWEs have been addressed by many studies, verbal MWEs (VMWEs), such as to take a decision, to break one’s heart or to turn off, have been rarely modelled. This is notably due to their syntactic variability, which hinders treating them as “words with spaces”. We describe an initiative meant to bring about substantial progress in understanding, modelling and processing VMWEs. It is a joint effort, carried out within a European research network, to elaborate universal terminologies and annotation guidelines for 18 languages. Its main outcome is a multilingual 5-million-word annotated corpus which underlies a shared task on automatic identification of VMWEs. This paper presents the corpus annotation methodology and outcome, the shared task organisation and the results of the participating systems.