EU Leaders’ Summit: Turkey on the Agenda…


According to the draft EU Council conclusions, the EU leaders are expected to condemn the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) Turkey signed with Libya a move that triggered strong negative reactions in Athens, Nicosia and Cairo. The (MoU) infringes upon the sovereign rights of third states, does not comply with the Law of the Sea and cannot produce any legal consequences for third states.

***

Invitation letter by President Charles Michel to the members of the European Council ahead of their meetings on 12 and 13 December 2019

I look forward to welcoming you to the December European Council – my first European Council meeting as President.

My intention is to build on the impressive work of my two predecessors and create a strong relationship with you, based on trust, confidence and transparency.

Together, we will provide the strategic guidance that Europe needs to tackle the many challenges identified in the Strategic Agenda adopted in June 2019.

Concerning this week’s European Council, the meeting will start at 15:00 on 12 December with an exchange of views with the President of the European Parliament David Sassoli. This will be followed by our first working session, in which we will begin by adopting our conclusions on the Conference on the Future of Europe.

We will then move to the vital challenge of Climate Change. I want us to agree on the commitment for the EU to become climate-neutral by 2050. This would be a major signal from the European Council that the EU will take a global leadership role on this crucial issue. It is my conviction that the transition to climate neutrality will create new opportunities for economic growth and development.

However, we must also recognise that it will require efforts from all Member States. We will put in place a framework and the necessary resources to chart a fair and balanced path towards our objective. This means taking into account the different national realities and starting points.

Over dinner, we will discuss the Multiannual Financial Framework. This is another key area for the future of our Union. We must enter into a new stage of our work and engage seriously. There is no point repeating known positions and maximalist requests; concessions will be needed from all sides. We will work to identify the key elements of a final agreement.

The first day will conclude with a debrief on the implementation of the Minsk Agreement along with short conclusions on WTO, Africa and Turkey.

On Friday, our meeting will begin at 10:00 in the presence of European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde and Eurogroup President Mario Centeno. After an exchange of views on the economic situation, we will take stock of the progress made by the Eurogroup on strengthening the Economic and Monetary Union and give some indications on future work. A statement will be adopted to that end.

The proceedings will conclude in the Article 50 configuration. We are ready for the next steps and reaffirm our desire for as close a relationship as possible with the United Kingdom. We will adopt short conclusions on Brexit.

I look forward to working closely with all of you on these issues, and many others, to make Europe bolder, more prosperous, and more self-confident.

***

European Council
12-13 December 2019

This will be the first EU summit chaired by Charles Michel as the new President of the European Council.

It will start on Thursday 12 at 15.00 with an exchange of views with the President of the European Parliament, David Sassoli. During their first working session leaders will discuss climate change. The heads of State or Government are expected to finalise their guidance on the EUʼs long-term strategy to be submitted to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in early 2020. The focus will be on setting a target for achieving climate neutrality by 2050.

The European Council will also discuss over a working dinner the EU’s long-term budget, the multiannual financial framework (MFF). The discussion will be based on a negotiating box with figures prepared by the Finnish presidency, as requested by the leaders in October.

Leaders are also expected to address other issues, including the Conference on the Future of Europe, relations with Russia, the EU-Africa partnership and the situation regarding the WTO’s mechanism for settling disputes.

On Friday there will be a Euro Summit in inclusive format where EU27 leaders will take stock of the implementation of their June 2019 statement concerning the strengthening of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU).

Afterwards EU27 leaders will discuss Brexit and preparations for the negotiations on future EU-UK relations after withdrawal.

Climate change

The European Council will focus on finalising its guidance on the EUʼs long-term strategy on climate change to be submitted to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in early 2020.

The aim of the discussion will be to endorse the target of achieving climate neutrality by 2050 and to define the enabling framework to get there. Leaders are expected to highlight the need for a just and socially balanced transition, and discuss the appropriate instruments and level of funding to make it possible.

[Tackling climate change in the EU – background information]

Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF)

The European Council will exchange views on the long-term EU budget, the 2021-2027 Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF). On the basis of a paper presented by the Finnish presidency, the negotiating box, which includes figures, leaders are expected to discuss the main features of the MFF, including the overall level, the financing and the volumes of the main policy areas, as well as conditionalities and incentives.

The debate should go beyond the exchange of views between the leaders in October and aim at narrowing the distance between the different positions to allow room for compromise.

[Multiannual financial framework: shaping EU expenditure – background information]

[Negotiating box with figures prepared by the presidency]

Conference on the Future of Europe

The European Council will discuss the idea of a Conference on the Future of Europe, starting in 2020 and ending in 2022, to involve the Council, the European Parliament and the Commission in their respective roles.

EU-Africa partnership

The European Council is expected to highlight the importance of the EU- Africa partnership and the need for strategic discussions, in particular ahead of the next EU-Africa summit.

Relations with Russia

Chancellor Merkel and President Macron will inform the leaders about the implementation of the Minsk agreements, following the meeting in Normandy format on 9 December in Paris.

Trade

EU leaders are expected to express their concern at the paralysis of the WTO’s dispute settlement mechanism, after the Apellate Body became dysfunctional this week. Since 2017 the United States has blocked the replacement of any of its seven members and rejected proposals to launch the selection process to fill the remaining vacancies.

Euro Summit

EU27 leaders will take stock of the implementation of the Euro Summit’s June 2019 statement. The heads of State or Government will look at the progress made in strengthening of the economic and monetary union (EMU), in particular through the revision of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) Treaty, the budgetary instrument for convergence and competitiveness (BICC) and technical work on the strengthening of the banking union.

The President of the Eurogroup, Mario Centeno, and the President of the European Central Bank, Christine Lagarde, will also be present at the debate.

[Deepening Europe’s Economic and Monetary Union – Background information]

[Statement of the Euro Summit, 21 June 2019]

Brexit

The European Council (Article 50) will meet in EU27 format to discuss Brexit and preparations for the negotiations on future EU-UK relations after withdrawal. Leaders will reconfirm their aim of establishing as close as possible a future relationship with the UK and set out the main lines of the EU’s internal organisation for the negotiations.

They are expected to welcome the Commission’s decision to reappoint Michel Barnier. [Source.]

[Brexit: timeline and documents]

Related:

[Greece seeks EU’s diplomatic shield against Turkey at Council]

[Anastasiades expects from EU partners a “clear position” regarding the “memorandum of understanding”]

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