The leaders of the European Union met on Thursday 9th and Friday 10th at the new European Council building in Brussels. During this two-day Summit they had to discuss about some of the most pressing issues such as economy, security and defence, migration and Western Balkans.
As far as the economy is concerned the focus was on jobs, growth and competitiveness. The outlook of the economic growth is encouraging but uncertainties persist. Therefore, it is important to ensure the sustainability of the recovery with different reforms. The leaders also insisted on the importance of a well-functioning single market. Bearing in mind its crucial role on trade, the council welcomed the positive vote on the CETA.
On security and defence, the heads of state or government agreed in assessing the implementation of conclusions on external security and defence. The European Council asserted that “Europe must do more to protect its citizens and contribute to peace and stability in its neighbourhood and beyond, including by committing sufficient additional resources, while taking into account national circumstances and legal commitments”. Besides, the EU supports the Member States to ensure internal security and to fight against terrorism.
Migration is still a crucial issue of the agenda and the Council is working on the implementation of the measures decided at the informal meeting in Malta on 3rd February 2017.
Finally, the European Union discussed about the fragile situation in the Western Balkans. Donald Tusk declared “To the countries of the region, our message will be clear: the European Union remains faithful to the promise of Thessaloniki and fully committed to the stability and prosperity of the region« .
But the main subject of the meeting that draw attention was the election of the president of the European Council. Most EU leaders want Donald Tusk to stay on after his current term ends in May. But the Polish government supports for a replacement candidate. Despite of this opposition, Donald Tusk has been re-elected as the president of the European Council for another two-and-a-half-year term. Twenty-seven out of 28 EU member governments supported Tusk. At the end of the day, 27 Members of the European Council supported the final conclusions of the President, but it did not gather consensus. The Polish prime minister, Beata Szydło decided to block the Council’s formal summit conclusions to protest against the re-election of Donald Tusk.
The last point of this summit was the preparation of the 60th anniversary of the Rome Treaties. As Donald Tusk says on twitter “60th anniversary of Rome’s Treaty will be a moment for reflection & unity, but also to set the direction of the EU for the decade to come”. It will be a political reflection on the future of the EU with the member states.
Sources / to find out more:
Conclusions by the President of the European Council, 9 March 2017: