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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.

Outlook for the special European Council meeting of 1-2 October 2020

28-09-2020

At the special European Council meeting of 1-2 October 2020, postponed from 24-25 September, EU Heads of State or Government are expected to dedicate much of their time to external relations issues, notably to a strategic discussion on Turkey and a debate on relations with China. Continuing illegal Turkish drilling activities in the eastern Mediterranean have made the former more urgent, while the latter is long overdue. The European Council is also likely to adopt extensive conclusions regarding ...

At the special European Council meeting of 1-2 October 2020, postponed from 24-25 September, EU Heads of State or Government are expected to dedicate much of their time to external relations issues, notably to a strategic discussion on Turkey and a debate on relations with China. Continuing illegal Turkish drilling activities in the eastern Mediterranean have made the former more urgent, while the latter is long overdue. The European Council is also likely to adopt extensive conclusions regarding the single market, industrial and digital policy, reiterating the key objective of achieving strategic autonomy, whilst maintaining an open economy. EU leaders are expected to call for development of EU autonomy in the space sector, a more integrated defence industrial base, and for the presentation of a 'digital compass' setting out the EU's digital ambitions for 2030 in its move towards digital sovereignty. EU leaders will also take stock of the coronavirus situation and review the coordination of national and European measures. Finally, the President, Charles Michel, is expected to set out his vision of the main issues to be dealt with by the leaders in the coming year, and to propose a work-plan for the European Council, similar to the Leaders’ Agenda which guided the work of the European Council during Donald Tusk's second mandate as President.

Outlook for the special European Council meeting of 1-2 October 2020

28-09-2020

At the special European Council meeting of 1-2 October 2020, postponed from 24-25 September, EU Heads of State or Government are expected to dedicate much of their time to external relations issues, notably to a strategic discussion on Turkey and a debate on relations with China. Continuing illegal Turkish drilling activities in the eastern Mediterranean have made the former more urgent, while the latter is long overdue. The European Council is also likely to adopt extensive conclusions regarding ...

At the special European Council meeting of 1-2 October 2020, postponed from 24-25 September, EU Heads of State or Government are expected to dedicate much of their time to external relations issues, notably to a strategic discussion on Turkey and a debate on relations with China. Continuing illegal Turkish drilling activities in the eastern Mediterranean have made the former more urgent, while the latter is long overdue. The European Council is also likely to adopt extensive conclusions regarding the single market, industrial and digital policy, reiterating the key objective of achieving strategic autonomy, whilst maintaining an open economy. EU leaders are expected to call for development of EU autonomy in the space sector, a more integrated defence industrial base, and for the presentation of a 'digital compass' setting out the EU's digital ambitions for 2030 in its move towards digital sovereignty. EU leaders will also take stock of the coronavirus situation and review the coordination of national and European measures. Finally, the President, Charles Michel, is expected to set out his vision of the main issues to be dealt with by the leaders in the coming year, and to propose a work-plan for the European Council, similar to the Leaders’ Agenda which guided the work of the European Council during Donald Tusk's second mandate as President.

Strategic sovereignty for Europe

11-09-2020

The current coronavirus pandemic has exposed the vulnerability of the European Union to external actors, and has enhanced its progress towards 'strategic sovereignty'. This notion signifies the ability to act autonomously, to rely on one's own resources in key strategic areas and to cooperate with partners whenever needed. To fully develop such strategic sovereignty, the EU needs to show political will and strengthen its capacity to act. It has to give up its silo approach to policies and address ...

The current coronavirus pandemic has exposed the vulnerability of the European Union to external actors, and has enhanced its progress towards 'strategic sovereignty'. This notion signifies the ability to act autonomously, to rely on one's own resources in key strategic areas and to cooperate with partners whenever needed. To fully develop such strategic sovereignty, the EU needs to show political will and strengthen its capacity to act. It has to give up its silo approach to policies and address them in a more coordinated manner. It also needs to move progressively towards 'smart power': relying on 'soft power' tools, whilst incrementally developing 'hard power' ones, including a fully-fledged EU defence instrument. Deepening the European project, including by tapping into the still unused/under-used potential of the Lisbon Treaty, will also bring the EU closer to strategic sovereignty, while also allowing it to reap the full benefits of the integration project. A strategically sovereign EU would represent a protective shield preventing powers that are increasingly influential on the global scene from turning it into their 'playground'.

Outcome of EU-China video-summit of 22 June 2020

30-06-2020

On 22 June 2020, the EU and China held their 22nd summit by videoconference. It was the occasion for the EU and Chinese leadership to touch upon a wide range of dimensions of the both strategic and challenging bilateral relationship. Topics included trade, climate change, international peace and security, Hong Kong and human rights as well as the response to the coronavirus outbreak. Yet, no joint statement was adopted as further progress would require ‘reciprocity and trust’. China is for the EU ...

On 22 June 2020, the EU and China held their 22nd summit by videoconference. It was the occasion for the EU and Chinese leadership to touch upon a wide range of dimensions of the both strategic and challenging bilateral relationship. Topics included trade, climate change, international peace and security, Hong Kong and human rights as well as the response to the coronavirus outbreak. Yet, no joint statement was adopted as further progress would require ‘reciprocity and trust’. China is for the EU both a partner committed to multilateralism, on which it nevertheless pursues in its own path, and a competitor, using assertively different economic and trade tools such as state subsidies or foreign direct investments to gain market share.

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

17-06-2020

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 Zagreb EU-Western Balkans video-summit of 6 May 2020

11-05-2020

The EU-Western Balkans Summit, which normally would have been held in Zagreb, took place by video-conference on Wednesday 6 May 2020. The focus was on a joint response to the crisis and on the common commitment to support the political, economic and social transformation of the region. The EU and Western Balkan leaders adopted the Zagreb Declaration, confirming the region’s ‘European perspective’, albeit without mentioning enlargement as a process.

The EU-Western Balkans Summit, which normally would have been held in Zagreb, took place by video-conference on Wednesday 6 May 2020. The focus was on a joint response to the crisis and on the common commitment to support the political, economic and social transformation of the region. The EU and Western Balkan leaders adopted the Zagreb Declaration, confirming the region’s ‘European perspective’, albeit without mentioning enlargement as a process.

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