Outcome of the meetings of EU leaders, 24-25 March 2022

Briefing 28-03-2022

Russia's war on Ukraine and the linked issue of energy security constituted the clear focus of the European Council meeting held on 24 25 March 2022. The meeting included a joint session with the President of the United States of America, Joe Biden, and it formed part of a trilogy of summit meetings in Brussels (NATO, G7 and EU) demonstrating Western unity in support of Ukraine and in response to President Vladimir Putin's unacceptable violation of international law. The main outcomes of the meeting were: i) the creation of a new Ukraine Solidarity Trust Fund; ii) a voluntary EU joint purchasing scheme for gas, similar to that put in place for coronavirus vaccines; and iii) the endorsement of the new EU 'Strategic Compass'. However, no further steps were taken with regard to Ukraine's EU membership application, no common EU approach was found to address increased energy prices and no further sanctions were imposed on Russia at this stage, despite calls by some EU leaders for energy and/or transport bans. In general, the conclusions reiterated, or built further upon, the Versailles Declaration of 11 March. Important elements included the need to further reduce the EU's strategic dependence in energy and other sensitive areas, notably critical raw materials, semi-conductors, health, digital and food security. The meeting also saw Charles Michel re-elected as President of the European Council for a second term of 30 months.