At the June European Council, leaders adopted the EU's strategic agenda for 2019-2024 and focused on climate, disinformation, the long-term EU budget and external relations
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker participated yesterday and today in the European Council where EU leaders adopted 'A new strategic agenda 2019-2024' which sets out the priority areas that will steer the work of the European Council in the next five years. Leaders also focused on climate, disinformation, the long-term EU budget and external relations, including Russia and Turkey. On the appointments for the EU's top jobs, leaders decided to continue their talks at another meeting on 30 June 2019.
Strategic agenda for 2019-2024
Based on Commission's proposals, the European Council agreed on an agenda for the EU for the next five years. The "new strategic agenda 2019-2024" focuses on the following four main priorities and sets out how to achieve those objectives:
- protecting citizens and freedoms
- developing a strong and vibrant economic base
- building a climate-neutral, green, fair and social Europe
- promoting European interests and values on the global stage
According to the European Council conclusions, "In recent years, the world has become increasingly unsettled, complex and subject to rapid change. That creates both opportunities and challenges. Over the next five years, the EU can and will strengthen its role in this changing environment. Together, we will be determined and focused, building on our values and the strengths of our model. This is the only effective way to shape the future world, promote the interests of our citizens, businesses and societies, and safeguard our way of life. This Strategic Agenda provides an overall framework and direction for that response."
Multiannual financial framework
The European Council welcomed the work done under the outgoing Romanian presidency on the Multiannual financial framework package for 2021-2027. EU leaders called on Finland's upcoming presidency to further develop the negotiating box - which will serve to clarify the options on the negotiating table. On this basis, the European Council will hold an exchange of views in October 2019, aiming for an agreement on the EU's long-term budget before the end of the year.
EU leaders emphasised the importance of stepping up global climate action to achieve the Paris agreement objectives ahead of the United Nations Secretary General's Climate Action Summit in September.
The European Council invited the Council and the Commission to advance work on processes and tools to be put in place to ensure a transition to a climate-neutral EU, while taking into account the specificities of the EU countries, the competitiveness of European industry, just and socially balanced measures, the right to decide on own energy mix and building on the measures already in place to achieve 2030 reduction target.
EU leaders called for more efforts to tackle disinformation following the last EU elections. More needs to be done to raise awareness, increase preparedness and strengthen the resilience to disinformation. Leaders welcomed the Commission's intention to assess the implementation of commitments undertaken by online platforms under the Code of Practice.
The European Council discussed latest developments and the situation in eastern Ukraine and the Azov Sea. It reiterated its call on Russia to release the captured Ukrainian sailors, return the seized vessels and ensure free passage through the Kerch Straits. EU leaders also called on Russia to fully cooperate with the ongoing investigation on the downing of flight MH17.
Regarding Turkey's illegal drilling activities in the eastern Mediterranean, the European Council expressed serious concerns and underlined the negative impact that such actions had across the range of EU-Turkey relations. The European Council called on Turkey to show restraint, respect the sovereign rights of Cyprus and refrain from any such actions. The EU will monitor developments and stands ready to respond in full solidarity with Cyprus.
At the press conference President Juncker said: "We are in full solidarity with Cyprus. What Turkey is doing in the territorial waters of Cyprus is totally unacceptable. The Commission has been charged to propose measures to be taken as soon as possible when it comes to this conflict and will do so, and these will not be soft measures."
The European Council endorsed the conclusions on enlargement and stabilisation and association process adopted by the General Affairs Council on 18 June 2019.
At the Euro Summit that took place on Friday, leaders discussed the economic situation. ECB President Mario Draghi emphasised that the biggest risks to the global economic outlook are trade and geopolitical tensions. Leaders agreed to take this message to the G20 Summit in Osaka on 28-29 June. Leaders also discussed the further strengthening of the Economic and Monetary Union and took note of the broad agreement on the euro area budgetary instrument. The Eurogroup in an inclusive format will continue to work on this instrument which will eventually be integrated into the long-term EU budget. Leaders also expect work on the European Stability Mechanism Treaty to be finalised by the end of 2019.
President Juncker said: "Je me réjouis notamment de l’accord récemment obtenu sur l’Instrument budgétaire de convergence et de compétitivité. C’est une idée que la Commission a présentée il y a plus d'un an. […] Nos efforts ont porté leurs fruits: nous avons aujourd'hui le niveau d'emploi le plus élevé jamais atteint et le taux de chômage le plus bas depuis le tournant du siècle. Nous avons réconcilié les citoyens européens avec leur monnaie."
Finally, leaders discussed the state of play on the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the European Union and the ongoing events in the United Kingdom.
President Juncker underlined that "on Brexit there is nothing new. There is nothing new because we repeat unanimously: there will be no renegotiation of the Withdrawal Agreement.”
The Commission adopted a series of communications and reports to contribute to the June European Council discussions
21 juuni 2019