Tag Archives: european council

Prague: EU leaders convene informally

Brussels 07.10.2022 EU leaders meet in Prague to discuss the three most pressing, and interlinked, issues facing the EU, namely Russia’s war in Ukraine, energy and the economic situation.

Invitation letter by President Charles Michel to the members of the European Council ahead of Prague leaders meetings on 6 and 7 October 2022
The leaders will continue to discuss these topics at the upcoming European Council in Brussels on 20 and 21 October 2022.
This informal European Council meeting takes place following the first meeting of the European Political Community on 6 October 2022.

EU leaders will discuss the EU’s response to Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine and the Kremlin’s continuous escalation, including the organisation of a national mobilisation campaign, the sham coercive ‘referenda’ and the illegal annexation of Ukraine’s Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions. In their statement from 30 September 2022, EU leaders firmly rejected and unequivocally condemned the illegal annexations.

In this context, EU leaders will discuss how to continue providing support to Ukraine, including economic, military, political and financial support as well as how best to protect our critical infrastructure.

Russia’s war against Ukraine has a dramatic impact on the energy situation in Europe, with a spillover effect on the economy. In this context, EU leaders will discuss how to guarantee security of supply and affordable energy for households and businesses, particularly for the coming winter.

As part of the discussions, EU leaders will assess the decisions already taken in this regard, including a set of energy measures to reduce electricity demand and to collect and redistribute the energy sector’s surplus revenues for final consumers, which EU energy ministers reached a political agreement on at the end of September.

In light of the discussions, EU leaders will also provide guidance for further reforms and measures to ensure a well-coordinated European response.

EU rejects Donbass referenda

Brussels 30.09.2022 “We firmly reject and unequivocally condemn the illegal annexation by Russia of Ukraine’s Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions. By wilfully undermining the rules-based international order and blatantly violating the fundamental rights of Ukraine to independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, core principles as enshrined in the UN Charter and international law, Russia is putting global security at risk” reads the Statement by the Members of the European Council.

“We do not and will never recognise the illegal ‘referenda’ that Russia has engineered as a pretext for this further violation of Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, nor their falsified and illegal results. We will never recognise this illegal annexation. These decisions are null and void and cannot produce any legal effect whatsoever. Crimea, Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, Donetsk and Luhansk are Ukraine. We call on all States and international organisations to unequivocally reject this illegal annexation.

“In the face of Russia’s war of aggression as well as Moscow’s latest escalation, the European Union stands resolutely with Ukraine and its people. We are unwavering in our support to Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. Ukraine is exercising its legitimate right to defend itself against the Russian aggression to regain full control of its territory and has the right to liberate occupied territories within its internationally recognised borders.

“The nuclear threats made by the Kremlin, the military mobilisation and the strategy of seeking to falsely present Ukraine’s territory as Russia’s and purporting that the war may now be taking place on Russia’s territory will not shake our resolve.

“We will strengthen our restrictive measures countering Russia’s illegal actions. They will further increase pressure on Russia to end its war of aggression.

“We reiterate that the European Union firmly stands with Ukraine and will continue to provide strong economic, military, social and financial support to Ukraine for as long as it takes”.

EU suspends Russia visa facilitation

Brussels 09.09.2022 The European Union countries have decided to fully suspend the visa facilitation agreement with Russia, the Council informed in a press release published on Friday, September 9.

“Today the Council adopted a decision that fully suspends the visa facilitation agreement between the EU and Russia. Consequently, the general rules of the visa code will apply to Russian citizens,” the press release reads.

The decision will result in “an increase in the visa application fee from 35 euros to 80 euros, the need to present additional documentary evidence, increased visa processing times and more restrictive rules for the issuance of multiple-entry visas.”

“The decision is expected to be published in the Official Journal on 9 September 2022. It will enter into force on the day of its adoption and will apply as of 12 September 2022,” the Council of the EU indicated.

The full suspension of the visa facilitation agreement with Russia was proposed by the European Commission on September 6.

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.

EU: Michel invitation to Versailles Council

Brussels 09.03.2022 Invitation letter by President Charles Michel to the members of the European Council ahead of their informal meeting of 10 and 11 March 2022:
“Russia has brought war back to Europe. This unprovoked and unjustified military aggression against Ukraine grossly violates international law and undermines European security. Russia is inflicting unspeakable suffering on the Ukrainian population. We commend the people of Ukraine for their courage in defending their country. Together with Ukraine, we stand firmly on the side of freedom and democracy. Ukraine is part of our European family.

“In response to Russia’s aggression, the European Union has shown unity and strength. We have imposed on Russia the strictest sanctions ever adopted. The European Union and its Member States are providing coordinated humanitarian, political, financial and material support to Ukraine. Member States are also showing immense solidarity in hosting countless people fleeing the war.

“This conflict and its consequences will be at the heart of our informal meeting in Versailles on 10 and 11 March, which President Macron will kindly host.
Over the past years, faced with multiple crises and challenges, we engaged together on an ambitious strategic agenda. In the light of recent events, it is more urgent than ever that we take decisive steps towards building our sovereignty, reducing our dependencies and designing a new growth and investment model.

“Consequently, at our informal meeting, I would like us to focus on three particular issues, namely:

bolstering our defence capabilities;
reducing our energy dependency, in particular on Russian gas, oil and coal, and
building a more robust economic base.

Our meeting will start on 10 March at 5:30 pm with an exchange of views with the President of the European Parliament. Our objective on the first day is to focus on the situation in Ukraine, as well as on defence and energy.

On 11 March, our morning session and our working lunch will be devoted to our new growth and investment model in the presence of the President of the European Central Bank and the President of the Eurogroup.

“I look forward to seeing you in Versailles (pictured above)”.

EU Condemns Russian actions

Brussels 25.05.2021 The European Council held a strategic debate on Russia.
– It condemns the illegal, provocative and disruptive Russian activities against the EU, its Member States and beyond. It reaffirms the EU’s unity and solidarity in the face of such acts as well as its support to Eastern partners. (Image above: Crimea bridge, Azov sea).

– The European Council expresses its solidarity with the Czech Republic and supports its response.
– The European Council reaffirms its commitment to the five principles governing EU policy vis-à-vis Russia. – It invites the High Representative and the Commission to present a report with policy options on EU-Russia relations, in line with these principles, with a view to its meeting in June 2021.
– The EU will continue coordination with like-minded partners.

Since March 2014, the EU has progressively imposed restrictive measures against Russia. The measures were adopted in response to the illegal annexation of Crimea and the deliberate destabilisation of Ukraine:

The EU imposes different types of restrictive measures:

Diplomatic measures
individual restrictive measures (asset freeze and travel restrictions)
restrictions on economic relations with Crimea and Sevastopol
economic sanctions
restrictions on economic cooperation

Diplomatic measures
In 2014, the EU-Russia summit was cancelled and EU member states decided not to hold regular bilateral summits. Bilateral talks with Russia on visa matters as well as on the new agreement between the EU and Russia were suspended.

Instead of the G8 summit in Sochi, a G7 meeting was held in Brussels on 4-5 June 2014. Since then, meetings have continued within the G7 process.

EU countries also supported the suspension of negotiations over Russia’s joining the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the International Energy Agency (IEA).

Individual restrictive measures
Asset freeze and travel restrictions
177 people and 48 entities are subject to an asset freeze and a travel ban because their actions undermined Ukraine’s territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence.

The measures were introduced in March 2014. They were last extended until 15 September 20

Europe Day virtual celebrations

Europe Day is held every 9 May to mark the anniversary of the speech by French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman that led to the foundation of the European Union.

As we mark Europe Day, we remember how Europeans made history in 1950 and pay tribute to those who are making history today. In the context of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, 9 May 2020 represents an important opportunity to celebrate unity and solidarity in Europe.

In accordance with the tradiation the European Parliament organises events for visitors at its premises. As this is not possible due to the pandemic this year, Parliament and the other institutions have created a digital open day, bringing people together in this time of crisis by highlighting the sense of solidarity and emphasising what the EU is doing to help.

Among the highlights, Parliament President David Sassoli is scheduled to take part in a live debate on Saturday morning, with interpretation into various languages.

Other events include a Facebook live with Parliament Vice-Presidents Othmar Karas and Katarina Barley, video messages from the leaders of the political groups, a virtual visit to the plenary chamber in Brussels and a panel discussion on Schuman and his vision for Europe. The virtual visitor can also enjoy an online exhibition, featuring items from the Parliament’s archives.

Seventy years after the Schuman declaration, Europe is facing a crisis that makes EU solidarity more important than ever.

COVID19: EU March Summit postponed

The ordinary European Council scheduled for 26-27 March has been postponed to a later date. (Image: archive)

The members of the European Council agreed this during their video conference of 17 March 2020. EU leaders also agreed to hold another video conference next week on the situation regarding the COVID-19 outbreak.

The announcement followed the postponement of the Croatia presidency meeting scheduled on April 15.

In order to limit the spread of COVID-19, the #EU2020HR has decided to postpone, until 15 April, all Croatian Presidency’s related informal meetings in Croatia, except informal Ministerial level meetings” the announcement of the Presidency reads.

EU Council adopts measures for migration control

European Council addressed the implementation of its approach to migration, which combines more effective control of the EU’s external borders, increased external action and the internal aspects.

European Council notes that the number of detected illegal border crossings has been brought down to pre-crisis levels, and that the overall downward trend is continuing. This is the result of the external migration policy of the Union and its Member States, based, in particular, on control of the external borders, the fight against smugglers and cooperation with countries of origin and transit, which has been intensified in recent months. This policy should therefore be continued, further developed and fully implemented.

Vigilance on all existing and emerging routes should be maintained, in particular in view of recent increases on the Western and Eastern Mediterranean Routes.

As regards the internal policies, the European Council invites the co-legislators to rapidly conclude negotiations on the European Border and Coast Guard (EBCG).

It welcomes the agreement reached at the level of the Council on 6 December 2018 with regard to enhancing the EBCG’s mandate in the area of return and cooperation with third countries. It also calls for further efforts to conclude negotiations on the Return Directive, on the Asylum Agency and on all parts of the Common European Asylum System, respecting previous European Council conclusions and taking into account the varying degree of progress on each of these files.

 

Brexit: EU27 Political Declaration

The European Council (Article 50) on 13 December 2018 adopted conclusions on Brexit.

1. The European Council reconfirms its conclusions of 25 November 2018, in which it endorsed the Withdrawal Agreement and approved the Political Declaration. The Union stands by this agreement and intends to proceed with its ratification. It is not open for renegotiation. 

2. The European Council reiterates that it wishes to establish as close as possible a partnership with the United Kingdom in the future. It stands ready to embark on preparations immediately after signature of the Withdrawal Agreement to ensure that negotiations can start as soon as possible after the UK’s withdrawal.

3. The European Council underlines that the backstop is intended as an insurance policy to prevent a hard border on the island of Ireland and ensure the integrity of the Single Market. It is the Union’s firm determination to work speedily on a subsequent agreement that establishes by 31 December 2020 alternative arrangements, so that the backstop will not need to be triggered.

4. The European Council also underlines that, if the backstop were nevertheless to be triggered, it would apply temporarily, unless and until it is superseded by a subsequent agreement that ensures that a hard border is avoided. In such a case, the Union would use its best endeavours to negotiate and conclude expeditiously a subsequent agreement that would replace the backstop, and would expect the same of the United Kingdom, so that the backstop would only be in place for as long as strictly necessary.

5. The European Council calls for work on preparedness at all levels for the consequences of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal to be intensified, taking into account all possible outcomes.

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