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Outcome of the video-conferences of EU leaders on 25 March 2021

30-03-2021

Due to the worsening epidemiological situation, EU leaders met on 25 March 2021 in a series of video-conferences instead of a two-day physical meeting. The top priority was the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, notably through increasing production, delivery and deployment of vaccines. Another highlight of the European Council meeting was the exchange of views with the President of the United States, Joe Biden – the first such meeting for 11 years – which focused on the coronavirus pandemic ...

Due to the worsening epidemiological situation, EU leaders met on 25 March 2021 in a series of video-conferences instead of a two-day physical meeting. The top priority was the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, notably through increasing production, delivery and deployment of vaccines. Another highlight of the European Council meeting was the exchange of views with the President of the United States, Joe Biden – the first such meeting for 11 years – which focused on the coronavirus pandemic and common challenges. In addition, EU leaders reviewed recent work in the area of the single market, industrial policy and digital, and discussed the situation in the eastern Mediterranean and relations with Turkey. The Euro Summit video-conference discussed the international role of the euro.

Outcome of the European Council video-conference of 26 February 2021

03-03-2021

On 26 February 2021, EU leaders met for a second videoconference session to discuss security and defence and the southern neighbourhood. They reaffirmed their commitment to implement the 2019-2024 Strategic Agenda by increasing the EU's ability to act autonomously and strengthening its resilience by taking 'more responsibility for its security'. They also expressed their wish to deepen the transatlantic bond with the US and through NATO. In line with past meetings dedicated to security and defence ...

On 26 February 2021, EU leaders met for a second videoconference session to discuss security and defence and the southern neighbourhood. They reaffirmed their commitment to implement the 2019-2024 Strategic Agenda by increasing the EU's ability to act autonomously and strengthening its resilience by taking 'more responsibility for its security'. They also expressed their wish to deepen the transatlantic bond with the US and through NATO. In line with past meetings dedicated to security and defence, the Secretary General of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, joined the EU leaders to discuss EU-NATO cooperation.

Outcome of the European Council video-conference of 21 January 2021

25-01-2021

Discussions at the 21 January video-conference meeting of EU leaders largely focused on a coordinated response to the coronavirus pandemic, including the evolving public health situation with the spread of new virus variants coming from the UK and South Africa, vaccination strategies and international solidarity. While agreeing to further restrictive measures to limit non-essential travel, keeping borders open to ensure the functioning of the EU's single market was emphasised as essential. At the ...

Discussions at the 21 January video-conference meeting of EU leaders largely focused on a coordinated response to the coronavirus pandemic, including the evolving public health situation with the spread of new virus variants coming from the UK and South Africa, vaccination strategies and international solidarity. While agreeing to further restrictive measures to limit non-essential travel, keeping borders open to ensure the functioning of the EU's single market was emphasised as essential. At the meeting, EU leaders also raised the issue of the detention of Alexei Navalny, condemning it and calling on the Russian authorities to release him.

Outcome of the meetings of EU leaders on 10 and 11 December 2020

15-12-2020

On Thursday 10 and Friday 11 December 2020, the European Council agreed on clarifications to the rule-of-law conditionality mechanism, which pave the way for the adoption of the Multiannual Financial Framework and the Next Generation EU recovery fund. The language used by EU leaders in their conclusions satisfied all actors involved, and avoided triggering renegotiation of the compromise reached between the co-legislators on the proposed regulation on rule-of-law conditionality. EU leaders also achieved ...

On Thursday 10 and Friday 11 December 2020, the European Council agreed on clarifications to the rule-of-law conditionality mechanism, which pave the way for the adoption of the Multiannual Financial Framework and the Next Generation EU recovery fund. The language used by EU leaders in their conclusions satisfied all actors involved, and avoided triggering renegotiation of the compromise reached between the co-legislators on the proposed regulation on rule-of-law conditionality. EU leaders also achieved a significant breakthrough in combating climate change, by committing to a binding EU reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of at least 55 % by 2030. Moreover, the European Council discussed the development, purchase and the EU-wide distribution of effective vaccines against Covid-19 and stressed the need to take forward proposals for a health union. EU leaders also agreed to step up the fight against radicalisation, terrorism and violent extremism.

Outlook for the meetings of EU leaders on 10-11 December 2020

09-12-2020

On 10 and 11 December, EU leaders will meet for their 13th meeting of 2020, bringing to a close a year of exceptionally intensive activity for the European Council. EU Heads of State or Government will address a packed agenda, covering most of 2020's key issues: the coronavirus pandemic, climate change – notably the new EU greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets for 2030 – and the fight against terrorism, as well as various external relations issues, such as relations with the US and with Turkey ...

On 10 and 11 December, EU leaders will meet for their 13th meeting of 2020, bringing to a close a year of exceptionally intensive activity for the European Council. EU Heads of State or Government will address a packed agenda, covering most of 2020's key issues: the coronavirus pandemic, climate change – notably the new EU greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets for 2030 – and the fight against terrorism, as well as various external relations issues, such as relations with the US and with Turkey. Two crucial issues, which are not on the formal agenda but could dominate discussions, are rule-of-law conditionality for the 2021-27 Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) and the EU-UK negotiations. EU leaders are also expected to appoint a new member of the European Central Bank's executive board. The Euro Summit on 11 December will focus on the revision of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) treaty and on progress towards a banking union.

Key issues in the European Council: State of play in December 2020

09-12-2020

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 ...

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 in the various policy fields.

Outcome of the European Council video-conference of 29 October 2020

03-11-2020

On 29 October 2020, the Heads of State or Government met by video-conference to exchange information and coordinate efforts to defeat the pandemic, placing testing, tracing and vaccines at the centre of their strategy. EU leaders stressed the urgency of ensuring mutual recognition of rapid tests so as to enable the free movement of persons and to maintain open borders within the EU, as this is key to preserve a functional internal market. They condemned recent terrorist attacks in France and have ...

On 29 October 2020, the Heads of State or Government met by video-conference to exchange information and coordinate efforts to defeat the pandemic, placing testing, tracing and vaccines at the centre of their strategy. EU leaders stressed the urgency of ensuring mutual recognition of rapid tests so as to enable the free movement of persons and to maintain open borders within the EU, as this is key to preserve a functional internal market. They condemned recent terrorist attacks in France and have also discussed the tense situation in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Key issues in the European Council: State of play in October 2020

15-10-2020

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 ...

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 in the various policy fields.

Outcome of the special European Council meeting, 1-2 October 2020

05-10-2020

The European Council meeting of 1-2 October 2020 was largely dedicated to external relations. EU leaders discussed a wide range of foreign policy issues, including relations with China, Nagorno-Karabakh and the Navalny poisoning attempt. Particular attention was paid to the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean, with EU leaders extending an offer to cooperate with Turkey – provided the current path to dialogue was maintained – while envisaging all options otherwise. On Belarus, the leaders agreed ...

The European Council meeting of 1-2 October 2020 was largely dedicated to external relations. EU leaders discussed a wide range of foreign policy issues, including relations with China, Nagorno-Karabakh and the Navalny poisoning attempt. Particular attention was paid to the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean, with EU leaders extending an offer to cooperate with Turkey – provided the current path to dialogue was maintained – while envisaging all options otherwise. On Belarus, the leaders agreed on restrictive measures against officials responsible for repression and election falsification. Also on the agenda were the single market, industrial policy and digital transformation, notably in the context of EU strategic autonomy. There was also an in-depth discussion on coordination of the coronavirus pandemic response. Finally, the President presented the new Leaders' Agenda 2020-21, foreseeing the main topics for discussion up to June 2021.

On the path to 'strategic autonomy': The EU in an evolving geopolitical environment

28-09-2020

In confronting the EU with an unprecedented crisis, the coronavirus outbreak is testing the bloc's unity, but may also accelerate the construction of EU strategic autonomy, as the roadmap for recovery is implemented. Political will, still in the making, and the capacity to act are key prerequisites for achieving effective European strategic autonomy. The EU is increasingly at risk of becoming a 'playground' for global powers in a world dominated by geopolitics. Building European strategic autonomy ...

In confronting the EU with an unprecedented crisis, the coronavirus outbreak is testing the bloc's unity, but may also accelerate the construction of EU strategic autonomy, as the roadmap for recovery is implemented. Political will, still in the making, and the capacity to act are key prerequisites for achieving effective European strategic autonomy. The EU is increasingly at risk of becoming a 'playground' for global powers in a world dominated by geopolitics. Building European strategic autonomy on a horizontal – cross-policy – basis would strengthen the EU's multilateral action and reduce dependence on external actors, to make the EU less vulnerable to external threats; while promoting a level playing field that benefits everyone. The EU could thus reap the full dividend of its integration and possibly benefit from greater economic gains. To build European strategic autonomy, the EU may choose to use the still 'under-used' or 'unused' potential of the Lisbon Treaty, with the European Council having a key role to play in triggering some of the Treaty provisions, particularly in foreign and security policy. European strategic autonomy may also result from a deepening of the EU integration process. Nevertheless, it remains to be seen whether the Member States will wish to grasp the opportunity offered by the Conference on the Future of Europe to deepen the European project.

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