Tag Archives: Summit

EU-US:enhancing transatlantic security & defence

Brussels 24.03.2022 Today, the European Council was joined by President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. of the United States have issued the joint readout:

“The leaders discussed the coordinated and united response of the European Union and the United States to Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified military aggression in Ukraine.

“They reviewed their ongoing efforts to impose economic costs on Russia and Belarus, as well as their readiness to adopt additional measures and to stop any attempts to circumvent sanctions.

“Leaders discussed the urgent needs caused by Russia’s aggression, committed to continuing providing humanitarian assistance, including to neighbouring countries hosting refugees, and underscored the need for Russia to guarantee humanitarian access to those affected by or fleeing the violence.

“Leaders welcomed the opening of international investigations, including by the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, and ongoing efforts to gather evidence of atrocities.

“In addition, leaders discussed EU-U.S. cooperation to reduce dependence on Russian fossil fuels, accelerate the transition to clean energy, as well as the need to respond to evolving food security needs worldwide.

“The leaders also concurred on the importance of strengthening democratic resilience in Ukraine, Moldova, and the wider Eastern partnership region.

“Finally, leaders underscored the importance of enhancing transatlantic security and defence, including through robust NATO-EU cooperation as described in the EU’s Strategic Compass”.

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 leaders convene in Brussels

Brussels 16.10.2021 The EU leaders convene in Brussels to discuss developments related to COVID-19, crisis management and resilience, energy prices, security and defence, external aspects of migration and the situation in Belarus. The meeting has started at 10.00 am and will be followed by a press conference.
EU leaders will discuss migration, focusing on its external dimension and the implementation of the June 2021 conclusions.

The European Council will discuss the situation at the EU’s border with Belarus, including the restrictive measures. On December 2, 2021, the Council adopted the fifth package of sanctions over continued human rights abuses and the instrumentalisation of migrants. In view of this situation, the Council imposed restrictive measures on an additional 17 individuals and 11 entities, targeting prominent members of the judicial branch and propaganda outlets that contribute to the continued repression of civil society, democratic opposition, independent media outlets and journalists, and high-ranking political officials and companies that have helped incite and organise illegal border crossing for political purposes.

The European Council will discuss Russia’s military build-up at the border with Ukraine, including the EU restrictive measures in response to the crisis in Ukraine. On 11 October, the Council decided to impose restrictive measures on an additional 8 individuals for actively supporting actions and implementing policies that undermine or threaten the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine.

The persons added to the EU sanctions list include law enforcement officials – judges, prosecutors and security officers – responsible for enforcing Russian law in the illegally-annexed Crimea and Sevastopol. Those individuals have taken biased decisions in politically-motivated cases, and prosecuted or oppressed opponents of the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol.

EU restrictive measures regarding the territorial integrity of Ukraine now apply to a total of 185 persons and 48 entities. Those designated persons are subject to an asset freeze – including a prohibition on making funds available to them – and a travel ban, which prevents them from entering or transiting through the EU.

European Union – African Union Summit
The European Council is expected to take stock of the preparations for the EU-African Union Summit on 17-18 February 2022. In the light of current events, the European Council may address other specific foreign policy issues.

Merkel: farewell to EU Colossus

Brussels 22.10.2021 Merkel has attended a staggering number of 107 EU Summits in Brussels that saw some of the biggest twists in recent European history, including the eurozone debt crisis, an inflow of Syrian refugees, Brexit and the creation of the bloc’s landmark pandemic recovery fund.

“You are a monument,” the incumbent President of the EU Council and the host of the Summits Charles Michel, said in the closed-door homage to her, according to an official in the room.

An EU summit “without Angela is like Rome without the Vatican or Paris without the Eiffel tower,” Michel said after Merkel’s 26 counterparts gave her a standing ovation.

The gift given by the European Council President Charles Michel to departing Merkel and Lovren to mark their last ever summits. It’s a representation of the “Lantern” of the Europa Building in Brussels.

Brussels: Marine Le Pen supports Morawiecki

Brussels 22.10.2020 Marine Le Pen met on Friday 22 October in Brussels the Polish head of government Mateusz Morawiecki to whom she provided “support” in the crisis between her country and the EU by denouncing “the unacceptable blackmail” of the European Commission.

“We spoke together in particular of the unacceptable blackmail exercised by the European Commission on Poland, and I wanted to give it my support,” added Marine Le Pen, who is due to hold a press conference in Brussels afterwards. midday, before going to Budapest on Monday to meet the ultraconservative Prime Minister Viktor Orban. Before the opening of a summit of the Twenty-Seven Thursday in Brussels, Mateusz Morawiecki, in conflict with Brussels on the independence of justice and the primacy of European law, said he was “ready for dialogue” while denouncing ” the pressure of blackmail ”.

European leaders played the card of appeasement during this Summit, while reserving the possibility of cracking down later. Tensions have increased since a decision on October 7 by the Polish Constitutional Court which declared certain articles of European treaties incompatible with the national constitution. A decision denounced by Brussels as an unprecedented attack on the primacy of European law and the jurisdiction of the Court of Justice of the EU, but also as the ultimate illustration of the lack of independence of the Polish justice with regard to the government.

EUCO: EU Summit conclusions on pandemic

Brussels 22.10.2021 European Council conclusions on COVID-19:
“Vaccination campaigns around Europe have brought about significant progress in the fight against COVID-19. Nevertheless the situation in some Member States remains very serious. In order to further increase vaccination rates throughout the Union, efforts to overcome vaccine hesitancy should be stepped up, including by tackling disinformation, notably on social media platforms. It is necessary to remain vigilant regarding the emergence and spread of possible new variants.

“In light of the development of the epidemiological situation, the European Council calls for further coordination to facilitate free movement within, and travel into, the EU, and for a revision of the two Council recommendations. It encourages the Commission to accelerate its work regarding mutual recognition of certificates with third countries.

“Based on the experiences of the COVID-19 crisis, the EU’s resilience to and horizontal preparedness for crises must be strengthened. To ensure better prevention of, preparedness for and response to future health emergencies in the EU, the European Council calls for the conclusion of the negotiations on the Health Union legislative package and for ensuring that Member States are adequately involved in the governance of the Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority (HERA). It recalls the need to swiftly take work forward on access to medicines across Member States.

“The European Council reiterates the EU’s continued commitment to contributing to the international response to the pandemic and to ensuring access to vaccines for all. It calls for the rapid removal of obstacles hampering the global roll-out of vaccines, and invites the Commission to further engage directly with manufacturers in this respect. This will allow Member States to speed up the delivery of vaccines to countries most in need. The EU will continue to support the production and uptake of vaccines in partner countries.

“In the context of the upcoming G20 meeting and in view of the special session of the World Health Assembly in November, the European Council underlines its support for a strong, central role of the World Health Organization in future global health governance and for the objective of agreeing an international treaty on pandemics”.

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.”

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.

Michel postpones #EUCO Summit

On 1 and 2 October, the EU leaders will meet in Brussels to discuss the Single market, industrial policy and digital transformation, as well as external relations, in particular relations with Turkey and with China. The Summit, initially planned for 24 and 25 September, has been postponed as President Michel is in quarantine.

In July, the European Council agreed an unprecedented recovery package to counter the effects of COVID-19 on the economies and societies of the EU member states. The two pillars of such a recovery, the green transition and the digital transformation, coupled with a strong single market, will foster new forms of growth and strengthen the EU’s resilience.

“This agreement was a major step to our vital objective: European strategic autonomy. (…) The strategic independence of Europe is our new common project for this century. It’s in all our common interest” said Charles Michel, President of the European Council.
The European Council will look at ways of deepening and strengthening the single market, developing a more ambitious industrial policy, and pressing ahead with the digital transformation. EU leaders will focus on:
going back to a fully functioning single market as soon as possible; making the EU’s industries more competitive globally and increasing their autonomy; accelerating the digital transition.

The European Council will hold a strategic discussion on Turkey. During the EU leaders’ video conference of 19 August 2020, the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean and the relations with Turkey were raised by some member states. The leaders expressed their concern about the growing tensions and stressed the urgent need to de-escalate. The members of the European Council expressed their full solidarity with Greece and Cyprus and recalled and reaffirmed previous conclusions on the illegal drilling activities.

“We agreed to come back to these issues during our meeting in September. All options will be on the table”, president Michel said.
Following the EU-China summit on 22 June 2020 and the meeting with President Xi on 14 September 2020, both by video conference, the European Council will discuss EU-China relations.
In the light of events, the European Council may address other specific foreign policy issues.

EU-China Summit: «agree to disagree»

«I’m pleased that we could speak by video conference with President Xi, together with Ursula (von der Leyen) and Angela (Merkel). Unfortunately, our physical meeting in Leipzig wasn’t possible» said Charles Michel, the Euroepan Council president after the meeting.

«Europe needs to be a player, not a playing field. Today’s meeting represents another step forward in forging a more balanced relationship with China.

«We strive for a relationship that delivers on our mutual commitments. That generates concrete results for both sides. Results that are also good for the world. In some areas, we are on the right track. In others, more work needs to be done.

«We made it clear where we stand. Where we agree, and where we disagree. Real differences exist and we won’t paper over them. But we are ready to engage. Ready to cooperate where we can, and ready to roll up our sleeves to find concrete solutions. And on those difficult issues, we conveyed a clear and united European message: we want a relationship with China that is based on reciprocity, responsibility, and basic fairness.

Today we addressed 4 key topics:
1. Climate change
2. Economic and trade issues
3. International Affairs and Human Rights
4. COVID-19 and economic recovery

«China is a key global partner in reducing global greenhouse gas and tackling climate change. And we encourage China to be even more ambitious. The EU is setting the bar high — carbon neutrality by 2050. And we count on China to show similar leadership by implementing the Paris Agreement. We have a robust trading relationship with China. The EU is China’s first trading partner. On average we trade over 1 billion euros a day.

Trade can energise our economic recovery. But we want more fairness. We want a more balanced relationship. That also means reciprocity and a level playing field. That’s why we welcome today’s signature of the Agreement on Geographical Indications. It’s a big step in the right direction. We are working on a comprehensive investment agreement and concrete results in other important areas.

And in the digital domain, we defend our vision of a free, open and secure cyberspace. For the good of our people and our societies. As global players, the EU and China have global responsibilities. This means upholding the rules-based international order.

The national security law for Hong Kong continues to raise grave concerns. The EU and our Member States have responded with one clear voice. Democratic voices in Hong Kong should be heard, rights protected, and autonomy preserved. We called on China to keep their promises to the people of Hong Kong and the international community.

We reiterated our concerns over China’s treatment of minorities in Xinjiang and Tibet, and the treatment of human rights defenders and journalists. We asked for access for independent observers to Xinjiang and we called for the release of the arbitrarily detained Swedish citizen Gui Minhai and two Canadian citizens.

We agreed to discuss these issues in detail at the Human Rights Dialogue in Beijing later this year which will also include, we hope, a field visit to Tibet.

We called on China to refrain from unilateral actions in the South China Sea, to respect international law, and avoid escalations.

Covid-19 remains a deep and urgent threat. Only collective and transparent action will send this virus to the history books. There is only one way to find a vaccine and deploy it in all countries … that’s global cooperation.

We expect all countries, to cooperate with the impartial, independent and comprehensive evaluation of the international health response to COVID-19, and support the WHO to identify the source of the virus.

We encourage China to pursue an economic recovery that leads to structural reforms and that shapes a greener, more sustainable economy. This includes implementing the G20 Action Plan to drive sustainable global growth and reduce global tensions. And in Africa, China should be engaged in multilateral efforts on debt relief that will spur economic recovery.

En conclusion, nos discussions aujourd’hui ont été extrêmement importantes. Nous mesurons bien que parler, dialoguer est important mais cela ne suffit pas, il s’agit de transformer nos messages en actes.

Nous sommes déterminés à continuer à être engagés avec la Chine pour promouvoir nos valeurs, pour défendre nos intérêts. Nous voulons une relation équilibrée, fondée sur le respect pour les intérêts mutuels.

Nous considérons que la réciprocité, la transparence doivent être au cœur de l’engagement porté par l’Union européenne. »

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