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.
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.
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.
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.
The President of the European Council, Donald Tusk received the letters of credentials of the following Ambassadors:
H.E. Mr Abu Sufian Bin Haji Ali, Ambassador, Head of Mission of Brunei Darussalam to the European Union
H.E. Mr Manasvi Srisodapol, Ambassador, Head of Mission of the Kingdom of Thailand to the European Union
H.E. Mr Ata Oveznepesovich Serdarov, Ambassador, Head of Mission of Turkmenistan to the European Union
H.E. Mr Mohamed Issa Hamad Abushahab, Ambassador, Head of Mission of the United Arab Emirates to the European Union
H.E. Mr Richard Zacharie Akplogan, Ambassador, Head of Mission of the Republic of Benin to the European Union
H.E. Mr Sibusisiwe Mngomezulu, Ambassador, Head of Mission of the Kingdom of Swaziland to the European Union
H.E. Ms Rhoda Jackson, Ambassador, Head of Mission of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas to the European Union
Brussels. 22.06.2017. Today the EU leaders exchange on a range of the most pressing issues, including security and defence, economy, and migration.
The heads of state or government will discuss counter-terrorism and approach to eradication on online recruiting, and radicalization.
Leaders will also review progress in the strengthening of EU co-operation on external affairs on security and defence.
However, behind an official agenda, declared ahead of the meeting, there is a heated debate on migration and Brexit. Eastern states of Vicegrad4 group – Poland, Hungary, and Czech Republic – have bluntly refused to host illegal migrants to ease the burden on Greece and Italy, where most of the 1.7 million migrants arrived by sea, escaping conflicts and poverty, and famine in Africa, and Middle East. The European Commission launched infringement procedures against three disobedient states earlier this month, which can last years, foreseeing appeals. So far the calls for solidarity did not touch governments of East European countries, insisting on direct link between illegal migration and security compromised.
The other crucial issue is Brexit discussion with Theresa May, who came out weakened after the snap elections. Two issues to dominate the first encounter: the fate of the EU citizens, settled in the UK, and vice a vera, and the looming ‘divorce allowance’ the EU27 expects to receive in compensation for the EU retreat from the multiple project, to be able to continue until the end of the budgetary term of 2020. The latter is a matter of a big argument, as the majority of the UK citizens see themselves as ‘shareholders’ of the EU, ready to pay ‘some amount’ to continue co-ooperaton on a selected projects, but not a mind-boggling amount, put forward by the negotiating team. The need for the UK contribution to the EU budget is so acute, the EU Council president Donald Tusk underlined the door for the UK is open to stay any moment to revise the Brexit and keep the membership.
Today Poland made clear it would oppose the re-appointment of its former prime minister Donald Tusk next week as the chairman of EU Council, responsible for preparing the meetings.
The term of Tusk, who chairs the European Council, which brings together the leaders of the 28 member states of the European Union, ends in May. The Council chair will also a play in Britain’s negotiations to exit the EU.
Tusk, a centrist, has wide backing among EU leaders for a second term except from his own country, where the Law and Justice party (PiS) of his arch-rival Jaroslaw Kaczynski exercises power.
“Donald Tusk is a politician who breaks the elementary rules of the European Union,” Kaczynski told a news conference in Warsaw. “Someone who breaks such rules simply cannot be the European Council’s president and cannot under any circumstances count on our support – or a lack of our objection,” he said.