EU leaders focused on defence, migration and social issues. They discussed the future of EMU and adopted guidelines for negotiations with the UK
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker participated yesterday and today at the European Council which marked an important step on the Roadmap for a More United, Stronger and More Democratic Union as put forward by the President in his State of the Union address to the European Parliament on 13 September 2017.
The December European Council set the tone for the year ahead, delivering on policy initiatives launched in the context of the EU's positive agenda, setting out a way forward on migration, on deepening the Economic and Monetary Union, completing the Banking Union and on moving to the second phase of negotiations with the United Kingdom.
The European Council kicked off with the historic launch of Permanent Structured Cooperation in defence matters. Leaders called for further work on the European Defence Fund and were joined by the Secretary-General of NATO to discuss strengthening the strategic partnership. The Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) will allow a group of 25 countries to move forward together and develop defence capabilities for EU military operations. Leaders also reaffirmed their commitment to the European Defence Fund to co-finance some of the projects under PESCO and allow for joint procurement or research.
Following on from the successful Social Summit in Gothenburg, leaders underscored the importance of Europe's social, educational and cultural dimension in bringing Europeans together and building our common future.
A discussion on the way forward on migration under the Leaders' Agenda also took place. The debate was framed by the roadmap presented by the Commission last week which sets out a path towards a comprehensive agreement on a sustainable migration policy by June 2018.
The EU 27 leaders took part in the first-ever inclusive Euro Summit where they had a first discussion on the Commission's proposals to deepen Europe's Economic and Monetary Union and make it more united, efficient and democratic.
Based on the Commission's positive assessment, leaders decided that sufficient progress has been made in the first phase of the Article 50 negotiations with the United Kingdom, allowing the negotiations to proceed to their second phase.
At the press conference, President Juncker expressed satisfaction with the concrete results of the European Council, namely the commitment to present a proposal by March 2018 for the creation of a European Labour Market authority, and the launch of Permanent Structured Cooperation. On migration, President Juncker stated that relocation works as 93% of eligible refugees have already been relocated. President Juncker said: "[…] we will try to do our best to bring all the 28 Member States to a situation where they can act together. Because here too, unity has to be – I cannot say preserved, as it had not been preserved – re-established." President Juncker added that there had been a first fruitful discussion on deepening the Economic and Monetary Union underlining that the Eurozone Summit in March will prepare the decisions to be taken in June.
15 gruodis 2017