Outcome of the European Council video-conference of 23 April 2020

Briefing 29-04-2020

At the European Council's video-conference meeting on 23 April, EU leaders demonstrated greater willingness to achieve a coordinated response at EU-level to face the coronavirus crisis than had previously been the case. Although concrete decisions were postponed, Heads of State or Government adopted a more united approach and took decisive steps towards collective action. Notably, they welcomed both the 'Joint European Roadmap towards Lifting Covid-19 Containment Measures' and the 'Roadmap for Recovery', but also agreed to 'work towards establishing' an urgently needed recovery fund 'dedicated to dealing with this unprecedented crisis'. However, whilst asking the European Commission to shape the recovery strategy and to clarify the link between the Recovery Fund and the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), EU leaders gave little guidance on specific details, such as the total amount, whether it would provide loans or grants, or on a precise timetable. Furthermore, EU leaders called on Turkey to end its illegal drilling activities off Cyprus in the island's Exclusive Economic Zone. They also announced a video-conference between EU Heads of State or Government and their counterparts from the Western Balkans, on 6 May 2020, date of the previously planned EU-Western Balkans Summit.