Ukraine: EU Council 24-25 March

Brussels 23.03.2022 The March 24-25 European Council will discuss Russian military aggression against Ukraine, security and defence, energy, economic issues, COVID-19 and external relations.(Image above: archive)

US President Joe Biden will be joining EU leaders during the first day of the European Council for a discussion on support for Ukraine and its people and on strengthening transatlantic cooperation in response to Russia’s aggression.

Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine
The European Council will assess the latest developments on the ground, including the humanitarian situation and refugees.

The EU remains committed to Ukraine and its people and is working to provide coordinated political, financial, material and humanitarian support, as well as support for the reconstruction of a democratic Ukraine.

EU response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine (background information)
Security and defence
The European Council will discuss security and defence, building on the Versailles declaration and taking into account the new security situation in Europe.

In this context, EU leaders will discuss how to enable the EU to act more quickly and decisively when facing crises, while also securing its interests and protecting citizens. They will also discuss defence investment and funding instruments.

The European Council is expected to endorse the Strategic Compass, an initiative aiming at strengthening the Union’s security and defence policies around the themes of crisis management, defence capabilities, resilience and partnerships.

EU cooperation on security and defence (background information)
The Versailles declaration (10 and 11 March 2022)
Energy
At the informal meeting in Versailles, EU leaders agreed to phase out dependency on Russian gas, oil and coal imports as soon as possible.

The European Council will discuss sustained high energy prices and its impact on citizens and businesses, also in the context of the Russian aggression against Ukraine. The European Commission will provide a basis for the discussion by putting forward options for ensuring affordable energy prices and security of supply.

Energy prices (background information
Economic issues
The European Council will continue its discussion on how to build a more robust economic base, as laid out in the Versailles declaration, notably by reducing strategic dependencies in sensitive areas like critical raw materials, semi-conductors, health, digital and food.

The European Council will address how to further strengthen the single market to accelerate the green and digital transitions, as well as how to strengthen the resilience of the EU economy.

The European Council will be invited to endorse the policy priority areas for the European Semester in 2022.

European Semester in 2022 (background information)
COVID-19
The European Council will discuss coordination efforts in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and take stock of international cooperation on global health governance and solidarity, including through roll-out of vaccines.

The European Council will also discuss the work, under the guidance of the WHO, on a future instrument to strengthen pandemic prevention, preparedness and response.

COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic: the EU’s response.
External relations
In the light of events, the European Council may address specific foreign policy issues.

Euro Summit
EU leaders will meet for a Euro Summit, to be held in inclusive format.

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