Tag Archives: Charles Michel

EU-China Summit videoconference

European Union and China held their 22nd bilateral Summit via videoconference on 22 June 2020. President of the European Council, Charles Michel, and President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, accompanied by High Representative Josep Borrell, hold the Summit meeting with Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang followed by exchanges with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

EU-China relations have evolved in recent years. Our economic interdependency is high, and we must work together on global challenges like climate action, meeting the Sustainable Development Goals or dealing with COVID-19. Engaging and cooperating with China is both an opportunity and necessity. But, at the same time, we have to recognise that we do not share the same values, political systems, or approach to multilateralism. We will engage in a clear-eyed and confident way, robustly defending EU interests and standing firm on our values” President Michel said.

The COVID-pandemic and a number of major bilateral and multilateral challenges show clearly the EU – China partnership is crucial, be it in terms of trade, climate, technology, and the defence of multilateralism. But for our relations to develop further, they must become more rules-based and reciprocal, in order to achieve a real level playing-field” President von der Leyen said.

The EU-China summit had a comprehensive agenda addressing bilateral relations; regional and international issues, the COVID-19 pandemic and economic recovery.

The EU recalled the important commitments made at the 2019 EU-China Summit and stressed the need for the implementation of these commitments in a dynamic and result oriented manner as progress today is limited.

The EU strongly emphasised the need to advance negotiations for an ambitious EU-China Comprehensive Investment Agreement that addresses the current asymmetries in market access and ensures a level playing field.. Urgent progress is needed in particular on behaviour of State-Owned Enterprises, transparency on subsidies and rules tackling forced transfers of technology.

On economic and trade issues, the EU recalled the joint commitment to work constructively and expeditiously towards the resolution of a number of market access and regulatory issues. The EU welcomed confirmation by China that the recent China-US “phase 1” deal will be implemented in full compatibility with World Trade Organisation (WTO) obligations and without discrimination against EU operators. The EU recalled its expectation that European exporters immediately benefit from trade facilitating measures in the agri-food sector.

The EU reiterated the urgent need for China to engage in future negotiations on industrial subsidies in the WTO, and address overcapacity in traditional sectors such as steel as well as high-tech areas.

The EU is looking forward to the signature of the EU-China Agreement on Geographical Indications in coming weeks and entry into force in nearest future.

The Summit was also an opportunity to discuss the importance of the digital sector to economies and societies worldwide. The EU stressed that the development of new digital technologies must go hand in hand with the respect of fundamental rights and data protection. The EU also raised outstanding issues on cybersecurity, disinformation.

Leaders had a substantive discussion on climate change. China is the EU’s partner under the Paris Agreement, but needs to commit to decisive and ambitious domestic action to reduce emissions in the short term and to set a goal of climate neutrality at the earliest possible date.

The EU called on China to assume greater responsibility in dealing with global challenges through the rules-based international system, promoting international peace and security, and adhering to international standards to support sustainable development, especially in Africa.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the EU underlined the shared responsibility to participate in global efforts to stop the spread of the virus, boost research on treatments and vaccines, and support a green and inclusive global recovery. The EU stressed the need for solidarity in addressing the consequences in developing countries, notably as regard debt relief. The EU also called on China to fully participate in the independent review of lessons learned from the international health response to COVID-19, mandated by the resolution adopted at the last World Health Assembly. The EU also called on China to facilitate the return of EU residents in China.

On Hong Kong, the EU reiterated its grave concerns at steps taken by China to impose national security legislation from Beijing and considers those steps not in conformity with the Hong Kong Basic Law and China’s international commitments, and put pressure on the fundamental rights and freedoms of the population protected by the law and the independent justice system.

The EU raise its concerns on the deteriorating human rights situation, including the treatment of minorities in Xinjiang and Tibet, and of human rights defenders, as well as restrictions on fundamental freedoms. The EU also underlined its expectation that the Human Rights Dialogue will take place in China later in the year once the COVID-19 restrictions are eased. EU Leaders raised a number of individual cases, including the reports on citizens who have disappeared after reporting/expressing their views on the handling of the Coronavirus outbreak, as well as the continued arbitrary detention of Swedish citizen Gui Minhai and two Canadian citizens – Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor.

The EU and China exchanged views on a number of regional and international issues, including Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (the Iran nuclear deal), Afghanistan as well as situation on the Korean Peninsula. The EU expressed concerns about the escalation of other regional conflicts and the importance of upholding international law in the maritime domain. We agreed to continue contacts in the future

MFF: Michel committed to political talks

“…I am totally committed to start immediately real negotiations with the Member States.  We intend to have a physical summit around the middle of July in Brussels.  We will have the occasion to focus on some concrete proposals. Before this summit, I will put on the table some concrete proposals in order to try to take a decision. We are aware that it is essential to take a decision as soon as possible” said Charles Michel, the president of the EU Council after the teleconference with the EU heads of states and government.

“… The main topic was the MFF (Multiannual Financial Framework) and the Recovery Fund. It was the first occasion to discuss at the level of the leaders the proposals put on the table by the Commission, the MFF and the Recovery Fund. It was the occasion to observe that on different points there is an emerging consensus, which is very positive. But at the same time, we don’t underestimate the difficulties. And on different topics we observe that it is necessary to continue to discuss” Michel continued.

The European Commission has already put forward a budget proposal for the recovery from COVID-19, and adopted its first proposal for the EU’s long-term budget, the 2021-2027 multiannual financial framework (MFF) package, on 2 May 2018. To respond to the economic and social fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Commission proposed a revamped long-term EU budget on 27 May 2020.

The proposal includes an emergency recovery instrument, Next Generation EU, to help repair the immediate damage brought by the coronavirus pandemic and kick-start the recovery.

The Commission’s proposal is a seven-year EU budget of €1 850 billion:

a revised long-term EU budget of €1 100 billion for 2021-2027
a temporary reinforcement of €750 billion ⁠– Next Generation EU
The EU Council has been analysing and assessing the proposal. In parallel, Charles Michel, the President of the European Council has been consulting member states ahead of the video conference of EU leaders on 19 June 2020.

However the Duthc Prime Minister Mark Rutte leads a coalition of four member states that are opposed to distribute €500bn in grants to the countries most severely hit by the Covid-19 pandemic. His leadership has broad national support, according to Dutch media 61% of the voters did not support the EU recovery plan as proposed by the European Commission, and only 4% of Dutch voters responded positevly to the Commisison generous plan.

The “Frugal Four” at present including Austria, Denmark, the Netherlands and Sweden -presented their own concept for an EU recovery fund revealed to the EU capitals on 23 May. The most important point is lending. While the Commission proposal supported by Franco-German alliance includes a mixture of grants, loans and guarantees, the “Frugal Four” oppose the idea of grants, and stand for the temporary fund that should not lead to ‘debt mutualisation’, and the recipients of loans, mainlty the countries of the southeren Europe would have to display a ‘strong commitment to reforms’.
Since the end of May Mark Rutte has been at the forefront of a campaign refusing ‘gifts’ to southern European countries, promoting proposal of a ‘modernised’
The EU budget that will guarantee countries are strenghtened through the reforms, emerging with stronger economies after the pandemic crisis.

Michel welcomes Joint Roadmap for Recovery

Conclusions of the President of the European Council following the video conference of the members of the European Council, 23 April 2020:

“I would first like to thank all our health workers, doctors and researchers who are working around the clock to save lives.

I would also like to offer words of support to those who are ill and are fighting the virus as we speak

This pandemic is putting our societies under serious strain. The well-being of each EU member state depends on the well-being of the whole of the EU.

We are all in this together. Fighting Corona and its consequences will take time but we have already made a lot of progress and taken bold action.

Members of the European Council today held their fourth video conference to deal with the COVID-19 and its consequences. We have expressed a strong will to move forward together

We discussed progress on the various dimensions of the European response to the pandemic and welcomed the Joint European Roadmap towards lifting of COVID-19 containment measures. We all agreed that the health and safety of our citizens comes first.

We also agreed to continue to follow the situation closely, in particular as we approach the holiday season, and to coordinate as much as possible to ensure a gradual and orderly lifting of restrictions.

We welcomed the Joint Roadmap for Recovery. It sets out some important principles, such as solidarity, cohesion and convergence. It further defines four key areas for action: a fully functioning Single Market, an unprecedented investment effort, acting globally, and a functioning system of governance.

It is of utmost importance to increase the strategic autonomy of the Union and produce essential goods in Europe.

Following the meeting of the Eurogroup in an inclusive format on 9 April 2020, we endorsed the agreement on three important safety nets for workers, businesses and sovereigns, amounting to a package worth 540 billion euros.

We called for the package to be operational by 1 June 2020.

We also agreed to work towards establishing a recovery fund, which is needed and urgent. This fund shall be of a sufficient magnitude, targeted towards the sectors and geographical parts of Europe most affected, and be dedicated to dealing with this unprecedented crisis.

We have therefore tasked the Commission to analyse the exact needs and to urgently come up with a proposal that is commensurate with the challenge we are facing.

The Commission proposal should clarify the link with the MFF, which in any event will need to be adjusted to deal with the current crisis and its aftermath.

The Eurogroup in an inclusive format will continue to closely monitor the economic situation and prepare the ground for a robust recovery.

We remain committed to giving the necessary impetus to work on the recovery fund as well as the MFF, so that a balanced agreement on both can be found as soon as possible. em>

The illegal drilling activities by Turkey in Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone were raised by some Member States. We expressed our full solidarity with Cyprus and recalled and reaffirmed our previous conclusions on this matter.

“We decided to hold a video conference with the Western Balkans on May 6”.

Michel invites for EU Summit

President Charles Michel issued an invitation letter to the members of the European Council ahead of their video conference on 23 April 2020:

“I would like to invite you to our fourth videoconference dedicated to the fight against the coronavirus pandemic and its negative effects. We have moved quite some way over the past weeks, and I would really like to thank you all for your constructive spirit and bold actions so far. But there is still a long way to go to overcome this crisis.

The health of our citizens remains our top priority. We mourn the many lives lost and express our condolences to all the families who have lost a loved one. This pandemic touches all of us in every Member State and in every household. It knows no boundaries and calls for even more coordination and unity. It is my conviction that we must show even greater determination in overcoming our differences.

Health workers and doctors have worked relentlessly and tirelessly. We cannot show them enough gratitude. They represent the best of Europe. We commend the dedication of those who are at the forefront to combat the virus and those who are providing essential services to the population.

Restrictive measures, including limitations on some of our fundamental freedoms, continue to disrupt the daily lives of our citizens and our economies, but we will continue to do all that is necessary to combat the virus and to protect the health of our people. At the same time we have to prepare for the constraints to gradually end.

With that dual objective in mind and in line with the mandate you gave us three weeks ago, last week Ursula and I issued a Joint European Roadmap towards lifting of COVID-19 containment measures, charting the best way towards lifting the exceptional constraints without causing negative spill-over effects. The situation should be followed closely and there should be as much coordination as possible to meet the challenges ahead of us linked to the lifting of the restrictions, especially with regard to the summer season.

I now attach to this invitation a Roadmap for recovery with a strong investment component, which sets out some important principles and defines four key areas for action. I believe that these roadmaps provide a coherent and useful framework for our joint action towards overcoming the crisis and moving forward.

At our last videoconference, we also tasked the Eurogroup in an inclusive format to present proposals to tackle the socio-economic consequences of the crisis. On 9 April, the Eurogroup agreed on a package worth €540 billion, with three important safety nets for sovereigns, for private companies and for the protection of employment. We should give the go-ahead to these important initiatives and insist on them becoming available as quickly as possible. The aim should be for these three safety nets to be in place and operational by 1 June.

The comprehensive economic response to the crisis also includes a fourth element that was discussed by the Eurogroup, but not yet agreed, namely the idea of a European Recovery Fund. My suggestion is that we agree to work towards establishing such a fund as soon as possible. It should be of sufficient magnitude, targeted towards the sectors and geographical parts of Europe most affected, and be dedicated to deal with this unprecedented crisis. To this end, I propose that we task the Commission to analyse the exact needs and come up with a proposal that is commensurate with the challenge we are facing. The Commission proposal should clarify the link with the MFF, which will in any event be at the heart of the EU’s contribution to recovery and will need to be adjusted to deal with the current crisis and its aftermath.

It is critical that we discuss these issues openly among ourselves and urgently move ahead in order to make progress.

For other matters of common interest, whether international or internal to the EU, that are less directly related to this specific crisis, we continue to closely monitor the situation and will tackle them together in due course.

The videoconference will start at 15:00 on 23 April with the traditional exchange of views with the President of the European Parliament David Sassoli. We will then move to our discussion, in the presence of the President of the European Central Bank Christine Lagarde and the President of the Eurogroup Mario Centeno.

I look forward to our discussion”.

COVID19: European Commission measures

The EU’s next seven year budget should be a key instrument in the recovery plan to confront the negative economic consequences of the COVID-19 crisis, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on April 2.

Some people are talking about a Marshall Plan. The European budget should be the Marshall Plan we lay out together,” von der Leyen said while proposing a package aimed at support of the most affected countries.

A number of member states, including Spain along with the European Council president Charles Michel, have been calling for an EU Marshall Plan to support European economy in the aftermath of the pandemic.

We all know that in this crisis we need quick answers and we cannot take two or three years to invent new tools,” von der Leyen pointed out, “the MFF (Multiannual Financial Framework, the EU’s long-term budget) is the strongest tool we have,” she concluded. 

We want to shape the MFF in such a way that is a crucial part of our recovery plan,” the president added. 

COVID19: G20 pivotal role in global coordination

Today, Thursday 26 March 2020, the President of the European Council Charles Michel and the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen participated in the extraordinary G20 Leaders’ videoconference called by Saudi Arabia that currently holds the G20 Presidency.

Against the backdrop that Europe currently is at the epicentre of the global COVID-19 crisis, the Presidents thanked all G20 leaders for the solidarity shown to the European Union and its Member States most affected by the crisis.

They also underlined that the European Union is committed to international cooperation in tackling this pandemic and will continue to assist vulnerable countries and communities around the world, especially in Africa.

The Presidents of the Council and the Commission stressed that unprecedented events call for unprecedented action and that fast, massive and coordinated global action is necessary on the health and economic fronts to save lives and avoid a further economic crisis.

The G20 has a pivotal role in ensuring such global coordination.

The Presidents insisted that G20 countries should coordinate their macroeconomic policies, mobilising all instruments available, to mitigate the economic downturn, support workers and companies most affected.

President Michel and President von der Leyen also stressed that in order to limit the economic impact on our economies – and to maintain our ability to manufacture and provide the necessary protective and medical equipment, it is imperative that we keep trade flows and supply chains open and avoid any new restrictions.

The EU called on G20 members to assist each other in repatriating citizens stranded abroad who wish to return home.

The European Union thanked the G20 Presidency for its focus on global coordination towards enhancing our collective pandemic preparedness and welcomed the fact that the G20 asked the WHO, working closely together with relevant organizations, to come up quickly with a global initiative on pandemic preparedness and response.

In this context, Europe stands ready to set up an international online pledging event to ensure adequate funding to develop and deploy a vaccine against COVID-19.

Erdogan requests aid for migrants

We had tonight a meeting with President Erdoğan. A few days after my visit in Ankara, it was important to have this occasion to exchange our views on different topics related to the relationship between Turkey and the European Union. And of course, the first topic we discussed is the implementation of the deal between the European Union and Turkey on migration. We had the occasion to share our different opinions about the implementation of this deal a few years after this agreement” said the EU Council president Charles Michel.

“It is also very important to share with you that we will debrief the member states. We consulted a lot the member states the last days. It was, of course, necessary in order to inform them, in order to listen to the member states and to their concern regarding the different topics we have to discuss with Turkey. We will debrief the member states and it will also be the occasion later with the member states, after this process, this High-Level Political and technical process, between Turkey and the European Union through Josep Borrell and his counterpart in Turkey. It will also be the occasion to have, again, a political dialogue at the level of president Erdoğan in the next days and in the next weeks in order to continue this process of information and consultation of the different member states” Michel continued.

We also had the opportunity to explain the difference for the European Union between the means which are paid and disbursed, because the procedures are accomplished and the projects carried out, and the means which are committed, ie reserved in the case of the six billion euro envelope that was mobilized in connection with this agreement. This is a first point. Second point: we also had the opportunity to discuss security issues in the region, especially in Syria, and to highlight our mobilization in support of any political solution to bring more stability, but above all to highlight the the great humanitarian concern we have in Idlib, as well as on the border between Turkey and Syria. And the possible mobilization of the European Union to try to provide support in this area” Michel underlined.

However President Erdogan did not participate int he final press-conference, and some commentators assessed the meeting did not pass as foreseen, ending by abrupt departure of Turkish delegation.

The experts pointed at the talks failure, indicating that the positions of the parties are too far away to reach any rapprochement, especially responding to President Erdogan’s request to open Greek borders to let the migrants to pass further to the other European countries. In 2016, the EU struck a a financial arrangement with Turkey that prevented displaced Syrians from entering the EU via Greece in exchange for six billion euro aid. The agreement, although criticised by many, for time being has helped to stop Europe’s biggest refugee influx since World War II. It is unclear if Erdogan has accepted the explanations of the EU side on delays of transfers of six billion migrant funds to Turkey. In line with his previous strategy Erdogan continued to request visa-free travel to Europe for Turkish citizens.

Michel: MFF budget talks continue

“The last weeks and the last days, we have worked very hard in order to try to reach an agreement regarding the next European budget” EU Council president Charles Michel said, concluding in Brussels two Multiannual Financial Framework or seven year budget of the European Union.

“Unfortunately, today we have observed that it was not possible to reach an agreement. We have observed that we need more time. We know that this European budget is a very difficult topic, it’s a very difficult negotiation, especially after Brexit and the gap between 60 and 75 billion euro.

“We have worked very hard to try to reconcile the different concerns, the different interests, the different opinions on the table. But we need more time. It means that we will see in the future how it is possible to work on this topic in order to succeed, in order to get an agreement in the Council, to have unanimity in the Council.”

“Je voudrais également remercier l’ensemble des délégations et les chefs d’État et de gouvernement qui ont été très mobilisés pour tenter de travailler techniquement, politiquement avec nous, remercier bien sûr la Commission, Ursula von der Leyen et l’ensemble de son équipe pour tout le support qui a été donné tout au long des dernières semaines et des derniers jours.

“Et nous restons évidemment très engagés, très déterminés. Nous savons que le projet européen est un projet qui nécessite des efforts et de la ténacité, de la constance et de la détermination. C’est cet esprit qui nous habite, qui nous anime. Nous sommes évidemment lucides sur la nature des contraintes et des enjeux auxquels nous sommes confrontés. Nous savons qu’il y a beaucoup de sujets sur la table des institutions européennes et cette réunion aujourd’hui, hier et cette nuit, c’est une réunion qui nous apprend aussi sur la manière dont on peut tenter à l’avenir de faire avancer ce projet européen.”

Michel: EU budget talks “progress possible”

“I am grateful to the EU leaders for the hard work we’ve done together.

There are many legitimate concerns, but I am convinced that it is possible to make progress” the European Council president Charles Michel said ahead of the Council meeting on seven year budget of the block. (Image above: archive)

https://twitter.com/eucopresident/status/1230457528737243137?s=21

EU heads of state or government will discuss the EU’s long-term budget for 2021-2027 during a special meeting of the European Council on 20 February 2020. In his invitation letter, the President of the European Council said: “The time has come to reach an agreement at our level on the multiannual financial framework.”

Michel invites to EU Council

*Following the meetings held at Sherpa level, I have decided to call a special meeting of the European Council that will begin on 20 February 2020″ reads letter of the EU president Charles Michel, inviting the EU leaders to the Council.

https://twitter.com/eucopresident/status/1221101581971730434?s=21

*The time has come to reach an agreement at our level on the Multiannual Financial Framework.

*Any postponement would create serious practical and political problems and jeopardise the continuation of current programs and policies as well as the launch of new ones.

*I am fully aware that these negotiations are among the most difficult ones we have to face. But I am also convinced that with common sense and determination we can strike a deal that will benefit all Europeans.

*To achieve this, all sides will need to demonstrate a spirit of compromise. I count on your support in this respect.

*In the coming days I will consult with you before tabling an overall proposal in view of the February meeting, which will be prepared in the usual fashion.*

« Older Entries