At December 14-15 Summit the EU leaders will assess a number of the most pressing issues, including defence, migration, foreign affairs, social issues, education and culture.
“Our unity in recent months has been outstanding, and I would like to thank every one of you for this. We have demonstrated that we stand firmly together, supporting one another when needed. Also this week we can demonstrate that despite differences, maintaining unity is possible. The best example of this will be the launch of new cooperation in European defence, i.e. Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO)” – president of the EU Council Donald Tusk said ahead of the event.
#EUCO European Council welcomes the significant progress made by Member States in preparing a Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO)
notification with a common list of commitments. It encourage
those Member States in a position to do so to swiftly notify the Council and the High
Representative Federica Mogherini of their intentions to participate in PESCO. This would allow for the launching of PESCO before the end of the year, with a view to swiftly implementing the commitments, including the launching of first projects.
The European Council welcomes the work done so far by the co-legislators on the Commission’s proposal for a European Defence Industrial Development Programme (EDIDP). It calls for an agreement within the Council by the end of the year, with a view to concluding negotiations with the European Parliament as soon as possible so as to have the first capability projects identified by the Member States financed
The European Council encourages Member States to develop flexible and sound financing mechanisms within the European Defence Fund, to allow for joint procurement of capabilities and/or their joint maintenance and as a way of improving access to cutting-edge capabilities. The objective is to deliver capabilities, ensure a competitive, innovative and balanced basis for Europe’s defence industry across the EU, including by cross border cooperation and participation of SMEs, and to contribute to greater European defence cooperation, by exploiting synergies and mobilising EU support in addition to Member States’ financing.
European defence industrial development will also require EU support for SME and
intermediate (mid-cap) investments in the area of security and defence. It encourages the EIB to examine further steps with a view to supporting investments in defence research and development activities. It welcomes the launch of the trial run of the Coordinated Annual Review on Defence (CARD) which should contribute to spur enhanced defence cooperation #among Member States.
President Juncker Prague while attending the high-level conference on defence and security in Prague, 9.06.2017. He delivered a keynote speech on Europe in which underlined that feeling safe and secure in your own home “is the most basic and universal of rights”.
The European Union has “promoted peace, universal values and inclusive growth right around the world”, President Juncker said, “but it is time to go further”. In today’s world, a strong NATO, a strong European Union and a strong relationship between the two, “are more important than they ever have been before” President Juncker said, adding that by stepping up their efforts on defence, and by doing so together, the Member States of the Union will strengthen the ties that bind the Allies within NATO.
“The protection of Europe can no longer be outsourced” President Juncker said, “Europe has no other choice than to defend our own interests in the Middle East, in climate change and in our trade agreements“.This is why the European Commission has proposed a European Defence Fund, to improve the efficiency of European defence spending, and it is why the Commission has proposed that the Union use the legal means at its disposal to move away from the current patchwork of bilateral and multilateral military cooperation to more efficient forms of defence integration.
“I am talking about permanent structured cooperation, the Sleeping Beauty of the Lisbon Treaty […] The time to make use of this possibility is now”, President Juncker said, concluding that Europeans are in favour of a common security and defence policy, “they want their Union to do more to protect them from threats old and new, and it is time we listened”.
“We will have today a very intense day of work with the ministers of defence. First of all, we will bring forward the work on the Europe of Defence that we have started in the last months. I would expect from the ministers to give a strong endorsement, a strong guidance on the way in which we can better invest together through the European Union on defence. This is the best way to have an efficient European defence,” – the EU top diplomat Federica Mogherini said ahead of the Foreign Affairs Council focused on Defence issues.
“We will go on with the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO), with the use of the Battlegroups. It is not a militarisation of the European Union; on the contrary, it is a way of having a rational and efficient joint manner of working on defence. The European Union Member States need to overcome the fragmentation in this field and use all the instruments we have in our Union.”
“We will also have a session with Jens Stoltenberg, the NATO Secretary General, exactly one week before the NATO High Level Meeting next week with President [of the United States, Donald] Trump. We will see with him the state of implementation of the 42 different projects that the European Union and NATO have developed together in these months. It will be an occasion for us to work with him on how to strengthen each other. The European Union and NATO can help each other enormously in the sector of defence. So we will be happy to welcome him again, as it was the case last month in Malta.”
“The Ministers of Defence will be then joined by the Ministers of the Interior of the 28 Member States for a joint working session on counter-terrorism and the day will go on until a working dinner tonight when the interior ministers will meet with the development ministers to tackle the issues of migration. It is an intense day, it is three different ministers from every Member State joining us today, from defence and security to counter-terrorism, to our work in migration. It will be an intense and good day of work for the European Union.”
Launching the presidential campaign this weekend in Lyon – France second biggest city and major centre for banking, chemical, pharmaceutical, and biotech industries – the leader of Front National Marine Le Pen promised to organise a referendum on the European Union membership, following the UK example.
In her speech #Marine gave a negative characteristic to the European Union, incapable to fulfill its promises on prosperity, and even less on security, becoming simply a “nightmare”for French citizens. The event gathered a considerable audience of three thousand people, approximately two thousands more could not enter, and over the weekend all together 10.000 supporters were involved in related activities.
A day earlier Lyon welcomed the centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron, who upgraded his status after the disgraced front-runner Francois Fillon lost 16% in approval polls. On contrary to #Marine, Macron favors closer ties with the #EU, namely in security and defence.
Although as a Finance minister Macron has urged the need to reform euro, and has criticized the current status quo: “The truth is that we must collectively recognise that the euro is incomplete and cannot last without major reforms,” Macron said in his speech at the Humboldt University in Berlin. “It has not provided Europe with full international sovereignty against the dollar on its rules. It has not provided Europe with a natural convergence between the different member states.” He has never questioned French membership in the organisation.
Based on opinion polls Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron as highly probable contestants in the second round of the presidential elections. While the Socialist candidate Benoit Hamon would hardly be able to overcome the unpopularity of his party in 78 days left before the vote; and after Francois Fillon self-inflicted downfall the centre-right Republicans entered a profound crisis, making a swift recovery almost impossible.