Tag Archives: Council

Borrell meets Svetlana Tikhanovskaya

Brussels, 21.09.2020 Ahead of the Foreign ministers Council the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell met with Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, the Belarus opposition politician in exile: “We met with Sviatlana #Tsikhanouskaya ahead of #FAC. The EU has no hidden agenda. Belarusian people should be able to freely choose their president, without persecution and repression. Only an inclusive national dialogue can lead to a peaceful and sustainable solution #Belarus” the head of the EU diplomacy wrote on his Twitter micro blog.

The situation in Belrus after the sham elections is one of three major issues for discussion with EU Foreign Ministers. The other key topics for the EU diplomacy are “positive momentum” in Libya and relations with the African Union.

EU Special recovery plan Council

Invitation letter by President Charles Michel to the members of the European Council ahead of their meeting on 17-18 July 2020 reads as follows:

«On Friday, for the first time since the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, we will be able to meet again here in Brussels.

The COVID-19 pandemic has claimed many lives across Europe and dealt a serious blow to our economies and societies. It continues to impact our lives. All our efforts must focus on building a sustainable recovery. To that end, our meeting this week will be dedicated to the Multiannual Financial Framework and the Recovery Plan.

Since our last summit in June, we have worked intensively with all of you and taken due note of your concerns. On that basis I have put forward a proposal to address the key difficulties and to build bridges between the different positions. Finding agreement will require hard work and political will on the part of all. Now is the time. A deal is essential. We will need to find workable solutions and come to an agreement, for the greater benefit of our citizens.

Our meeting will start on Friday at 10.00 a.m. with the traditional exchange of views with the President of the European Parliament, David Sassoli. We will then hold our first working session and take it from there.

I look forward to welcoming you again in Brussels!»

EU leaders will meet physically in Brussels to discuss the recovery plan to respond to the COVID-19 crisis and a new long-term EU budget.

President Michel has proposed €1 074 billion to fulfil the long-term objectives of the EU, and to preserve the full capacity of the recovery plan. This proposal is largely based on the February proposal, which reflected two years of discussions between member states.


Lump sum rebates would be maintained for Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Austria and Sweden.

Size of the recovery fund

The Commission would be empowered to borrow up to €750 billion through an own-resource decision. These funds may be used for back-to-back loans and for expenditure channelled through the MFF programmes.

President Michel has proposed to preserve the balance between loans, guarantees and grants to avoid over-burdening member states with high levels of debt. “This is also key for the future of the Single Market and to prevent more fragmentation and disparities,” he said.

Allocation of the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF)

This proposal ensures the money goes to the countries and sectors most affected by the crisis: 70% of the Recovery and Resilience Facility would be committed in 2021 and 2022, according to the Commission’s allocation criteria. 30% would be committed in 2023, taking into account the drop in GDP in 2020 and 2021. The total envelope should be disbursed by 2026.

Governance and conditionality

Based on the proposal, member states will prepare national recovery and resilience plans for 2021-2023 in line with the European Semester, notably country-specific recommendations. The plans will be reviewed in 2022. The assessment of these plans will be approved by the Council by a qualified majority vote on a proposal by the Commission.

Secondly, 30% of funding will target climate-related projects. Expenses under the MFF and Next Generation EU will comply with the EU’s objective of climate neutrality by 2050, the EU’s 2030 climate targets and the Paris Agreement.

The third conditionality proposed by the President is linked to the rule of law and the European values.
“We are taking a key step to anchor the rule of law and values in our European project and this is why I propose a strong link between funding and respect for governance and rule of law,” said President Michel.

Image: Europa building, Brussels, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

EU updates Arctic policy

“While recognising the primary responsibility of the Arctic states for the development of the region, the Council notes that many of the issues affecting the region are of a global nature and are more effectively addressed through regional or multilateral cooperation. It notes that the EU should continue to make a significant contribution in both regional and multilateral fora which deal with arctic matters.”

“In light of the new challenges and opportunities across the Arctic and growing international interest, the Council invites the High Representative and the Commission to continue to actively implement EU Arctic policy, to initiate a process in order to update this policy and to continue to report to the Council regularly.”

EU Foreign Ministers focus on Syria and Ukraine

“You know that today we are mainly discussing the military operations in Syria. To me the most important point will be the fact that we are hosting the UN Special Envoy for Syria, [Geir] Pedersen. We will discuss with him how we can help protect the political process from this new military escalation. And obviously, as you know, Member States will discuss how far they are ready to go on some measures that are on the table when it comes to the Turkish military activities in Syria, but also the drillings in Cyprus” EU top diplomat Federica Mogherini said upon her arrival to EU Foreign Affairs Ministers Council in Luxembourg.


 “This meeting is important not only for the decisions it could take, but also to prepare the European Council. Because as you know, the European Council later this week will have the same two topics on the agenda, among others. It will also be useful to prepare the meeting of heads of state and government on these two issues.”


 “And we will also host the Foreign Minister of Ukraine [Vadym Prystaiko] today. For me it is very important to keep the European Union’s attention, and that of the international community on that. It will be an opportunity for us to hear from him about the plans of the new administration – of the new government – on reforms. As you know, the European Union is the main supporter of Ukrainian reforms and also of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the country. So it will also be a good opportunity for us to discuss with him on the perspectives for the country.”

EU27 expects to formalise Brexit deal by end November

In the next days, we will proceed as follows. The agreement is now being analysed by all the member states. By the end of this week, the EU27 ambassadors will meet in order to share their assessment of the agreement. I hope that there will not be too many comments” –  said president Donald Tusk after his meeting with Brexit EU Chief negotiator Michel Barnier.

“They will also discuss the mandate for the Commission to finalise the Joint Political Declaration about the future relations between the EU and the UK. The European ministers will be involved in this process. The Commission intends to agree the declaration about the future with the UK by Tuesday. Over the following 48 hours, the member states will have time to evaluate it, which means that the EU27 Sherpas should conclude this work on Thursday. Then, if nothing extraordinary happens, we will hold a European Council meeting, in order to finalise and formalise the Brexit agreement. It will take place on Sunday 25th November at 9:30Tusk annonced.

Finally, let me say this to our British friends. As much as I am sad to see you leave, I will do everything to make this farewell the least painful possible, both for you and for us.”

We still have a long road ahead of us on both sides,” chief negotiator Michel Barnier said.


EU foreign ministers aimed at saving nucelar deal

The saving of Iranian nuclear deal #JCPOA remains the major challenge for the EU diplomacy, gathering for foreign ministers Council in Brussels. The EU top diplomat Federica Mogherini said  she will inform the ministers about the results of the Vienna meeting on the Joint Commission of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (#JCPOA) , which took place in Vienna on 25 May 2018 upon the request of the Islamic Republic of Iran in order to review the implications of the withdrawal of the United States. And

“Today on the agenda of the Foreign Ministers we have first and foremost our work to preserve the nuclear deal with Iran [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, JCPOA]. You know that we have been acting already at European Union level to put in place a set of measures, to make sure that the nuclear agreement is preserved and the economic investments from the European side, but also from other sides in the world are protected” – Mogherini said upon arrival.

“Today, we will discuss this further with the Member States for the first time since the announcement of the US withdrawal from the agreement. This will allow Member States to contribute and complement, on their side, to the measures we have put in place at the level of the European Union.”

“I will update the Ministers on the good Joint Commission meeting we had last Friday in Vienna, where the remaining countries, without the United States, met at the level of Deputy Ministers, together also with Director General of the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency, Yukiya] Amano that confirmed for the 11th time that Iran is fully compliant with all its nuclear related commitments on the deal”.

EU: no additional sanctions against Iran

“No, there is no proposal of additional sanctions against Iran.The focus today will be on continuing the full implementation of the nuclear deal. All three, but also Russia, China, the United States and Iran, just assessed on Friday that the deal is being implemented and that we all stay committed to its full implementation. The focus will be on this today” – said EU top diplomat Federica Mogherini at doorstep of the Council of Foreign Ministers in Brussels.

October European Council on Brexit

“After our traditional exchange of views with European Parliament President Tajani at 15.00, Prime Minister Ratas will update us on where we stand in terms of implementing our previous conclusions” – says the letter of president Donald Tusk ahead of the Council meeting.

“We will then have a political discussion on the external aspects of migration, with a specific focus on the financial needs necessary to stem the flow of illegal migrants from Africa. Next, we will adopt conclusions on the vision for Digital Europe, with the objective of turning the fruitful discussions at our recent Tallinn summit into operational follow-up. Our conclusions on security and defence should ensure that the momentum from last June is maintained, in particular as regards the efforts to launch the Permanent Structured Cooperation by the end of the year. Over dinner, we will look into the deeply worrying developments in DPRK, the situation as regards Iran as well as Turkey. Furthermore, President Macron will make a point about trade negotiations, and Prime Minister May will share her reflections about the current state of the Brexit talks.”

“On Friday morning we will have an informal breakfast about the Leaders’ Agenda. After that, the European Council will reconvene at 27 to discuss the way ahead in the negotiations on the withdrawal of the UK. Prime Minister Ratas will take this opportunity to inform us on the discussions in the Council on the relocation of the UK-based agencies. Our meeting should end around lunchtime”

Enda Kenny for EU Council president?

The otherwise dull formal procedure of the prolongation of the mandate to the EU Council president Donald Tusk turned into suspense when his own compatriots fiercely opposed his appointment. A week before the EU Summit Polish government declared MEP Jacek Saryusz-Wolski as a candidate for the post. “Jacek Saryusz-Wolski represents a high level of professionalism and provides a pledge and guarantee of impartiality,” – Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski said. Previously  JarosĹ‚aw KaczyĹ„ski, the influential leader of the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party, said that Poland would object Tusk’s candidacy: “He is in favour of solutions that are extremely harmful to Poland,” – KaczyĹ„ski insisted.

The EPP party immediately evicted Saryusz-Wolski to deprive him of the formal grounds to claim the position, however the move does not solve the conflict with the  Polish government and the leading politician –  JarosĹ‚aw KaczyĹ„ski, who vowed to prevent Tusk from getting the  second mandate.

Although it would be difficult for win the case legally, politically Jarosław Kaczyński has already won, as it would be unthinkable for the EU to insist on ignoring of Polish interest.

The  word of Enda Kenny appointment for the post started to circulate in Brussels already during the weekend, when an alternative candidacy for the post or the Council president occurred.  According to unnamed diplomatic sources Tusk would not accept the position in case of opposition of his compatriots to avoid further divide in the EU, suffering multiple crisis.

Enda Kenny, also from EPP party, can be a compromise figure to resolve the conflict between the  Polish government and the Brussels over Tusk. The first time Kenny’s candidacy for EU Council president came to pubic eye in 2014.

EU: Ministers to discuss Ukraine


6/02/2017 The Council, chaired by the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, will discuss the situation in Ukraine. Ministers are expected to assess progress in the implementation of the reform agenda in Ukraine over the past year as well as EU support to the implementation of the Minsk agreements.

The Council will discuss the political situation in Libya, one year after the formation of the Government of National Accord. The economic and security situation may also be touched upon.Ministers for foreign affairs will also discuss how to work with Libya to address irregular migration along the Central Mediterranean route.

The Council will discuss the situation in Egypt and the way forward in EU-Egypt relations. Ministers may also more specifically address migration, counter-terrorism and Egypt’s role in the region.


The Council will discuss the Middle East peace process following up on the discussion that ministers held in January and taking stock of the most recent developments.


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