Tag Archives: Charles Michel

EUCO: EU leaders convene in Brussels

Brussels 21.10.2021 Invitation letter by President Charles Michel to the members of the European Council ahead of their meeting of 21 and 22 October 2021:
“I would like to invite you to our European Council meeting on 21 and 22 October.

“During our first working session, we will address the current hike in energy prices which is challenging the post-pandemic recovery and severely affecting our citizens and businesses. Building on the Commission’s recent communication, we will look closely into what can be done at the EU and national level, both in terms of short term relief for those most affected as well as measures for the medium and long term.

“We will also discuss the current COVID-19 situation. The pandemic is not over yet and figures are on the rise in several Member States. Vaccination has brought significant progress in the fight against COVID-19 but more still needs to be done, especially regarding vaccine hesitancy and disinformation. We will touch upon international solidarity, to ensure the speedy delivery of vaccines to countries most in need. We must also take action to ensure we are better prepared for pandemics in the future.

“We will also touch upon recent developments related to the Rule of Law during our working session.

“Over our working dinner we will have a strategic discussion on trade. When it comes to the EU’s global influence, trade remains the most effective instrument in our toolbox. We will discuss how to best make use of this instrument, both in terms of the objectives we seek and in terms of the process for the involvement of Member States, in light of experiences over the last few years.

“Another topic will be the preparations for important upcoming summits such as COP 26 and COP 15 on biodiversity. Looking ahead to the COP 26 summit, we need an ambitious global response to climate change. All major economies should set ambitious targets and meet their commitments on climate finance. We will also prepare the upcoming ASEM and Eastern Partnership Summits.

“On Friday, we will come back to the topic of migration, to follow up on the implementation of the June European Council conclusions on the external dimension of migration, in particular when it comes to financing. Our external borders need to be effectively controlled. We should also sustain our efforts to reduce secondary movements.

“We will then turn to Europe’s digital transformation, which is a key driver for economic growth, job creation and competitiveness. We will provide additional guidance on the digital agenda, including cyber security and connectivity, and give a political push to work on existing and future proposals and initiatives.

“I am confident that we will have a productive meeting, in a spirit of trust and dialogue. As demonstrated in the past unity is our strongest asset. I look forward to seeing you in Brussels.”

Kosovo: EU calls to de-escalate

Brussels 26.09.2021 “I continue to follow the situation in the north of Kosovo closely. Serbia and Kosovo need to unconditionally de-escalate the situation on the ground, by immediately withdrawing special police units and dismantling of roadblocks. Any further provocations or unilateral and uncoordinated actions are unacceptable” the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell wrote on his Twitter micro blog.

“Kosovo and Serbia must find solutions to defuse the situation and agree on the way forward. The EU will actively support these efforts. Both Kosovo and Serbian leaders are fully responsible for any risks to the safety and well-being of local communities is on both Kosovo and Serbia. I stressed this in my calls with President Vucic and Prime Minister Kurti this week.

“The EU-facilitated Dialogue continues to be the only platform to address and resolve all open issues between the Parties, including those related to freedom of movement and licence plates, and I strongly urge Kosovo and Serbia to use it. Both Chief Negotiators coming to Brussels in the coming days is a first positive step. It is crucial that they come with a mandate to discuss the way forward and find sustainable solutions that are in the interests of the citizens.

“We repeat that we expect both Kosovo and Serbia to return to fostering an environment conducive to reconciliation, regional stability and cooperation for the benefit of their citizens. This is crucial for reaching a comprehensive and legally-binding agreement on normalisation of their relations, which is necessary for both to advance on their respective European paths.

“I am in close touch with NATO Secretary General, whom I thank for the excellent cooperation between KFOR and EULEX. KFOR plays a key role in supporting regional stability in the Western Balkans”.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at the UN General Assembly: “When it is beneficial to the West, the right of peoples to self-determination is elevated to an absolute. And then, in violation of the UN Security Council resolution, they recognise the artificially created formation of Kosovo, which was forcibly torn away from Serbia. No one is embarrassed that the Malvins are 12 thousand km from Britain…”

Michel on access to Hamid Karzai airport

Brussels 24.08.2021 Remarks by President Charles Michel following the G7 leaders’ meeting on Afghanistan via videoconference: “We just participated in the virtual G7 leaders’ meeting on Afghanistan”.

“First, we tackled what remains our most pressing priority: the safe evacuation of the coalition’s citizens, Afghan staff, and their families.

“The EU and its member states spare no effort to evacuate EU citizens, and those who have partnered trustfully with us. We are concerned, about their ability to safely reach the Kabul airport. We call on the new Afghan authorities, to allow free passage to all foreign, and Afghan citizens, who wish to get to the airport.

“We have also raised this issue with our American friends and partners on two particular aspects: first, the need to secure the airport, as long as necessary, to complete the operations; and second, a fair and equitable access to the airport, for all nationals entitled to evacuation.

On humanitarian aid and migration, I will just make two remarks.

First, the EU will do its part, to support the safety and proper living conditions of Afghans, who flee their country. We will work with the countries in the region, especially Iran, Pakistan, and central Asia, to address the different needs. International protection will be needed for those facing persecution and for other vulnerable Afghans. And EU member states will contribute to this international effort.

Second point: let’s be clear, let’s not allow the creation of a new market for smugglers and human traffickers. We are determined to keep the migratory flows under control and the EU’s borders protected.

Today it is too early to decide what kind of relations we will develop with the new Afghan authorities. We call for an inclusive political settlement and if we want to remain a positive influence for the Afghan people, especially in supporting their basic needs, we will have to deal with the new authorities.

This will be subject to strict conditions, regarding the deeds and attitude of the new regime. Both in preserving the political, economic and social achievements for the Afghan citizens, and their human rights, notably of women, girls and minorities. And in terms of the international obligations of Afghanistan ¬– in particular, security, the fight against terrorism, and drug trafficking.

On security, the cooperation between NATO and other allies will be key. Sharing data among allies and partners, to prevent entry of foreign terrorist fighters will also play an important role.

Finally, on the geopolitical implications of these event: ending the military operation in Afghanistan is not the end of our commitment to promoting rule of law, democracy, and human rights in the world. On the contrary, we should be more determined than ever. This must be clear to actors who are trying to take advantage of the current situation. The EU will continue to firmly protect and promote its interests and values.

And to conclude: there will be more lessons, to draw from what happened in Afghanistan. These events show, that developing our strategic autonomy, while keeping our alliances as strong as ever, is of the utmost importance, for the future of Europe. In due time, I will propose a discussion on this question to my fellow leaders of the European Council.

Belarus suspends Eastern Partnership

Brussels 28.06.2021 “Belarus has taken another step backwards today by suspending its participation in the Eastern Partnership” the EU Council President Charles Michel (pictured) wrote on his Twitter micro blog page.
“This will escalate tensions further and have a clear negative impact on the people of Belarus by depriving them of opportunities provided by our cooperation” he added.

The head of the European Union’s Delegation to Belarus Dirk Schuebel was summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs today. The diplomats have informed him about the steps Belarus has been “forced to take” in response to the “unprecedented restrictive measures” imposed on the country by the EU.

Belarus has suspended its participation in the Eastern Partnership initiative of the European Union, the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement posted on its website on 28 June.

EU-US: transatlantic partnership renewed

Brussels 15.06.2021 The EU-US summit on 15 June 2021 marked the beginning of a renewed transatlantic partnership and set a joint agenda for EU-US cooperation in the post-pandemic era. The leaders committed to regular dialogue to take stock of progress.

Key summit deliverables include three major new trade initiatives. The leaders agreed to:
– create a Cooperative Framework for Large Civil Aircraft;
– engage in discussions to resolve differences on measures regarding steel and aluminium by the end of the year;
– establish an EU-US Trade and Technology Council;
Charles Michel, President of the European Council, and Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, represented the EU. President Joe Biden represented the United States. It was the first EU-US summit since 2014 and the first visit by a US President to the EU institutions since 2017.
At the end of the summit, the leaders adopted a joint statement.

The European Union and the United States represent 780 million people who share democratic values and the largest economic relationship in the world. We have a chance and a responsibility to help people make a living and keep them safe and secure, fight climate change, and stand up for democracy and human rights. We laid the foundations of the world economy and the rules-based international order after World War II based on openness, fair competition, transparency and accountability. Some of the rules need an update: to protect our health, our climate and planet, to ensure democracy delivers and technology improves our lives.

“We, the leaders of the European Union and the United States, met today to renew our Transatlantic partnership, set a Joint Transatlantic Agenda for the post-pandemic era, and commit to regular dialogue to take stock of progress.

“Together, we intend to: (i) end the COVID-19 pandemic, prepare for future global health challenges, and drive forward a sustainable global recovery; (ii) protect our planet and foster green growth; (iii) strengthen trade, investment and technological cooperation; and (iv) build a more democratic, peaceful and secure world. We are committed to uphold the rules-based international order with the United Nations at its core, reinvigorate and reform multilateral institutions where needed, and cooperate with all those who share these objectives”.

EU leaders heading G7 Cornwall

Brussels 10.06.2021 The G7 summit hosted by this year’s UK G7 presidency will take place from 11 to 13 June in Carbis Bay, Cornwall, UK.

The EU will be represented by the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, and the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen.

The UK has invited leaders from Australia, India, South Korea and South Africa to attend part of the meeting as guest countries.

At the end of the summit, the leaders are expected to adopt a leaders’ communiqué.

The UK Presidency’s overarching theme is ‘Building Back Better’ from the pandemic. This will be reflected in all six working sessions.

“On 11-13 June, the President of the European Council, Charles Michel and the President of the
European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, will represent the EU at the 46th G7 Summit hosted
by Prime Minister Boris Johnson in Carbis Bay, Cornwall.
This will be the first G7 Summit since the 2019 summit in Biarritz.
The summit comes after the G20 Global Health Summit and just before the EU-US Summit on 15
June. It will provide an impetus for the G20 Summit in October, the UN COP15 on Biodiversity in
October, the COP26 on Climate Change in November and the World Trade Organisation
Ministerial Conference in December.
As societies and economies guided by shared values, G7 leaders will commit to beating COVID-19
and tackle the recovery to ensure a more resilient international order.
The UK’s Presidency’s overarching theme this year is ‘Building Back Better’ from the pandemic.
This theme will be reflected in the six working sessions taking place between Friday 11 June and
Sunday 13 June”.

EU-US Summit on 15 June

Brussels 06.06.2021 The EU and US leaders are expected to address a wide range of issues of common concern, including COVID-19, climate, trade and investment, foreign affairs, and common values. The EU will be represented by the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, and the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen. The US will be represented by President Joe Biden.

Representatives from Washington and Brussels met in the Belgian capital on Wednesday,June 2, to reaffirm the strength of the EU-US partnership on foreign policy and security issues.

US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and Stefano Sannino, secretary general of the European External Action Service, met as the Biden administration seeks to reassure European allies after the transatlantic relationship took a battering under former president Donald Trump.

Sannino and Sharman called the upcoming summit “as an important step in the revitalized transatlantic partnership.”

Presidents of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen and European Council Charles Michel will host US President Joe Biden in Brussels, however Biden will participate at a NATO leaders’ summit in Brussels a day earlier.

The leaders are expected to hold talks on the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change, trade and regulatory policies, as well as various foreign policy questions at the summit.

President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. will travel to the United Kingdom and Belgium in June 2021. This will be the first overseas travel by President Biden. This trip will highlight his commitment to restoring our alliances, revitalizing the Transatlantic relationship, and working in close cooperation with our allies and multilateral partners to address global challenges and better secure America’s interests.

President Biden will attend the G7 Summit in Cornwall, U.K., which is happening from June 11-13, where he will reinforce our commitment to multilateralism, work to advance key U.S. policy priorities on public health, economic recovery, and climate change, and demonstrate solidarity and shared values among major democracies. He will also hold bilateral meetings with fellow G7 leaders, including British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

From the United Kingdom the President will travel to Brussels, Belgium, where he will participate in the NATO Summit on June 14. President Biden will affirm the United States’ commitment to NATO, Transatlantic security, and collective defense. NATO leaders will discuss how to orient the Alliance to future threats and ensure effective burden sharing. The President will also hold bilateral meetings with fellow NATO leaders.

While in Brussels President Biden will participate in a U.S.–EU Summit, which will underscore our commitment to a strong Transatlantic partnership based on shared interests and values. The leaders will discuss a common agenda to ensure global health security, stimulate global economic recovery, tackle climate change, enhance digital and trade cooperation, strengthen democracy, and address mutual foreign policy concerns.

We look forward to having further details to share about this trip soon, including potential additional elements.

EU-Japan online SUmmit

Bruxelles 27.05.2021 EU-Japan summit has take place via video conference, 27 May 2021.The EU was represented by the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, and the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen. Japan has been represented by Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga. (Image above: Japan, urban landscape).

The leaders adopted a joint statement: ‘… Defeating the COVID-19 pandemic remains our highest priority. We view the vaccination process not as a race between countries but a race against time. Recognising extensive
immunisation as a global public good, we support universal, equitable and affordable access to
safe, effective and quality-assured COVID-19 vaccines, diagnostics and treatments, as well as
the strengthening of health systems. To this end, we have made substantial contributions to the
Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator and its COVAX facility and are making efforts to
expand production of vaccines and other COVID-19 health products across the world. We will
also cooperate for the success of the COVAX AMC Summit on 2 June to be co-hosted by Japan
and Gavi. We welcome the EU’s leading role as a supplier of vaccines globally, including to
Japan. We will work towards the expansion of vaccine production and keeping supply chains
open and we call for refraining from unnecessary export and travel restrictions. We will work
also to restore visa waiver reciprocity. We support the holding of the Olympic and Paralympic
Games Tokyo 2020 in a safe and secure manner this summer as a symbol of global unity in
defeating COVID-19″.

We are determined to harness the benefits of data and digital transformation for society, the
environment and the economy, while upholding fundamental rights. We will collaborate to
promote global standards and comprehensive, including regulatory, approaches for digital
policies and technologies, notably on cybersecurity, secure 5G, “Beyond 5G” / 6G technologies,
block chain, and safe and ethical applications of artificial intelligence while encouraging an
innovative environment. This collaboration will also cover open and interoperable network
architectures. We underline our joint commitment to high standards of protection for personal
data, based on the already high degree of convergence between our systems. We undertake to
continue cooperation on “Data Free Flow with Trust” with a view to facilitating safe and secure
cross-border data flows through enhancing security and privacy. This will help us harness the
benefits of the digital economy. We will strive to reach a consensus-based solution on digital
taxation by mid-2021 within the OECD. We will work on strengthening EU-Japan digital
cooperation to support an inclusive, sustainable, human-centric digital transformation”.

Remarks by President Charles Michel after the EU-Japan summit via video conference
The EU and Japan are united in their cooperation based on shared values and principles, including freedom, respect for human rights, democracy, the rule of law, free and fair trade, effective multilateralism and the rules-based international order. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the EU-Japan strategic partnership.

Belarus: Borrell demands investigation

Brussels 24.05.2021 Top EU diplomat Josep Borrell called for an international investigation after Belarus forced a Ryanair passenger jet to land in Minsk, in an apparent effort to arrest an activist journalist.
“In carrying out this coercive act, the Belarusian authorities have jeopardised the safety of passengers and crew,” Borrell said in a statement issued on Monday, May 24, the following day after the incident.

“An international investigation into this incident must be carried out to ascertain any breach of international aviation rules,” the statement went on.

The Belarusian Transport Ministry on Monday announced it had set up a commission to carry out its own investigation into the forced landing and would publish the results soon, according to a report by the Russian RIA news agency.

EU to discuss incident at summit
The president of the European Council, Charles Michel, said EU leaders will discuss the incident at an EU summit beginning on Monday, adding that the affair would not remain “without consequences.”

Michel called on the Belarusian authorities to immediately release the detained passenger – the 26-year-old journalist Roman Protasevich who worked for Poland-based online news service NEXTA, which broadcast footage of protests against Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko (pictured) last year during presidential elections mass protests.

An EU spokesman said the leaders would discuss “possible sanctions” on Belarus. High-level officials in the country have already been sanctioned by the bloc over the brutal repression of the opposition, protesters and journalists following disputed elections in August 2020. More than 34,000 people have been arrested in the country since August, and thousands have been brutally mistreated.

Protasevich was traveling by commercial airline RyanAir from Athens to Vilnius, Lithuania, when the Belarusian air force sent a fighter jet. The flight, on Irish airline Ryanair, was diverted and escorted to Minsk, the capital of Belarus, where the millennial opposition figure was taken into custody.

Protasevich was returning to Vilnius from an economic conference in Greece with Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, Greek officials said.

The flight, which had been carrying some 170 passengers, should have taken about three hours. As it approached the border between Belarus and Lithuania, a MiG-29 fighter jet was scrambled to intercept it.

Lukashenko, who is often referred to as “Europe’s last dictator,” personally ordered the fighter jet MiG29 to escort the Ryanair plane to the Minsk airport after a bomb threat alert, his press service said. According to the statement, Lukashenko, an ally of President Vladimir Putin of Russia, gave an “unequivocal order” to “make the plane do a U-turn and land.”

EU supports WHO PANDEMIC TREATY

Brussels 20.05.2021 The Council adopted today a decision to support the launch of negotiations for an international treaty on the fight against pandemics. The World Health Assembly, the main governing body of the WHO, is expected to back the establishment of a process for a Framework Convention on Pandemic Preparedness and Response during its (virtual) meeting which starts on 24 May. The proposal for an international treaty on pandemics was first announced by the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, at the Paris Peace Forum in November 2020. (Image above: Brussels).

The objective of the Council decision is to assure the participation of the EU in the negotiations addressing matters falling within Union competence, in view of the Union’s possible accession to the treaty.

The proposal to conclude a treaty on pandemics is discussed in the context of international efforts to reinforce global health security, in particular on preparedness and response to health emergencies, in light of lessons learnt from the pandemic.

At the European Council of 25 February 2021 EU leaders underlined the need for global multilateral cooperation to adress current and future health threats and agreed to work on an international treaty on pandemics within the WHO framework and to advance global health security.

On 30 March 2021, leaders from all around the world joined the President of the European Council and the Director-General of the World Health Organization, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, in an open call for an international treaty on pandemics.

The European Union has an informal observer status at the WHO.

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