Outlook for the meeting of EU leaders on 16 December 2021

Briefing 10-12-2021

The last regular European Council meeting of 2021, on 16 December, will discuss a broad range of topics, notably the coronavirus pandemic, crisis management and resilience, energy prices, security and defence, migration, and external relations. In the context of the worsening epidemiological situation and the emergence of the Omicron variant, EU leaders will address progress in vaccination across the EU and the impact of new restrictions on the single market. They will also discuss international solidarity and ways of ensuring global vaccine coverage. Their debate on security and defence will probably focus on two intertwined outstanding issues, the Strategic Compass and the forthcoming cooperation declaration with NATO. On migration, EU leaders are expected to review the follow-up to their previous commitments and address the migration situation in the English Channel. In the external relations field, they will most likely discuss the situation in Ukraine and at the Belarus border, the developments in Ethiopia as well as preparations for the EU-African Union summit. As the European Council meeting will take place back to back with the Eastern Partnership Summit, EU leaders could take stock of the outcome of the latter. The Euro Summit directly after the European Council meeting will focus on the Covid recovery and review progress on the Banking and Capital Markets Unions