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'The European Council will revert to the issue' or 'reiterates' its view, were probably the most used sentences in the conclusions issued following the 16 December 2021 meeting of the Heads of State or Government. For many of the issues on the agenda, such as energy, where the geopolitical stakes are high, differences in position remain in the European Council; achieving consensus is therefore part of a longer process. On security and defence, no big decisions, but specific guidelines and targeted ...

The role of the European Council is to 'provide the Union with the necessary impetus for its development' and to define its 'general political directions and priorities'. Since its creation in 1975, the European Council has exercised considerable influence over the development of the European Union, a process enhanced by its designation as a formal institution of the Union under the Lisbon Treaty in 2009. The European Council Oversight Unit within the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS ...

The regular European Council meeting of 21-22 October 2021 dedicated significant time to discussing the rule of law and the rise in energy prices – which have become particularly salient topics at national and European level – as well as to migration. On the rule of law, EU leaders had a political discussion, underlining the importance of the rule of law for the EU, but did not adopt concrete conclusions. Regarding the recent spike in energy prices, they agreed on pursuing short-term, tailored and ...

The EU leaders met on 5 October 2021 in Brdo pri Kranju, Slovenia, to discuss informally the Union's role in the world over a working dinner. The meeting was coupled with an EU-Western Balkan Summit the next day. The focus at the dinner was on security and defence in the context of the 'Strategic Compass' process, to be finalised by March 2022, with EU leaders agreeing to continue deepening defence cooperation, not least by strengthening the alliance with NATO. The leaders also confirmed their 2019 ...

This EPRS publication, 'Key issues in the European Council', is updated quarterly to coincide with European Council meetings. It aims to provide an overview of the institution’s activities on major EU issues, by analysing twelve broad policy areas, explaining the legal and political background and the main priorities and orientations defined by the European Council in each field. It also assesses the results of European Council involvement in these policy areas to date, and identifies future challenges ...

The regular European Council meeting of 24-25 June 2021 was noteworthy on several fronts. First, there was an extensive discussion on the rule of law and European values, a topic rarely discussed at the level of EU leaders. It took place in the context of a new Hungarian law on child protection, which includes provisions considered by many as discriminatory against LGBTQI+ people. Second, following a Franco-German proposal, there was an intense debate about the EU approach to relations with Russia ...

Turkey has featured regularly on the agenda of the European Council in recent years, notably in the context of the migration crisis and military operations in Syria, and as a result of an increasingly tense situation in the eastern Mediterranean, which led to a significant military build-up at sea during the summer of 2020. In all these cases, the European Council (re)acted swiftly, ensuring that the views of the Member States were taken into consideration. In the migration crisis, it stepped up ...

At its meeting on 24-25 June 2021, the European Council will pursue its coordination efforts in response to the coronavirus pandemic, discuss the situation on the various migration routes, return to the strategic debate on relations with Russia, revert to their discussions on Turkey and assess progress in the EU’s economic recovery. In the Euro summit, EU leaders will discuss the economic challenges for the euro area in the aftermath of the COVID-19 crisis and review progress on the banking union ...

The transatlantic relationship has been witnessing a significant injection of renewed enthusiasm and policy activity since Joe Biden became President of the United States in January 2021. This paper focuses on three important issues on the rapidly evolving transatlantic policy agenda, exploring their potential for generating, in effect, new 'common global goods' during the Biden presidency. First, it looks at pathways towards developing some kind of 'transatlantic green deal', taking climate action ...

Following the forced landing of a Ryanair flight by Belarusian authorities on 23 May, Belarus became the central topic on the first day of the special European Council meeting of 24-25 May 2021. EU leaders strongly condemned the 'unprecedented and unacceptable incident', and were united in imposing further sanctions on Belarus. As regards Russia, the European Council reconfirmed the five principles guiding the EU's policy since 2016 and asked the High Representative and the European Commission to ...