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Donald Tusk, President of the European Council

In the spotlight

UN General Assembly, New York, 18-22 September 2016

Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, spoke on behalf of the EU at the 71st UN General Assembly (UNGA) on 21 September. His speech to the assembly focused on:

  • the European response to the refugee crisis and the need for global solidarity
  • building a global strategy and network against terrorism
  • the EU's active engagement to bring peace in areas where war is raging or is imminent, including Ukraine, Syria, Libya and Afghanistan
  • the EU's full commitment to the fight against climate change

" Europe will always stand for a free and open world governed by the rule of law, where nations can trade and grow together," he said.

On 20 September, President Tusk attended the leaders' summit on the global refugee crisis, hosted by US President Barack Obama. This event aimed to reach new global commitments to increase humanitarian funding, admit more refugees through legal pathways and increase refugees' self-reliance and inclusion.

On 19 September Tusk participated in the UN high level meeting on addressing large movements of refugees and migrants. "Global migration will accompany us in the future," he said, "and it is in our power to decide whether our future in this context will be orderly, stable and safe; or disorderly, unstable and unsafe." 

In the margins of the UNGA, he also met with a number of other leaders bilaterally.

Informal meeting of the 27 heads of state or government, Bratislava, 16 September 2016

The heads of state or government of the 27 met in Bratislava to begin a political reflection on further development of an EU with 27 member countries.

Leaders agreed on the Bratislava Declaration and Roadmap, which set out the objectives for the coming months. 

These objectives include: 

  • restoring full control of the external borders
  • ensuring internal security and fighting terrorism
  • strengthening EU cooperation on external security and defence
  • boosting the single market and offering better opportunities for  young Europeans  

"These objectives are matched by a number of very concrete measures," said President Donald Tusk at the press conference after the summit. "Let me just mention that a number of leaders have decided to immediately deploy extra personnel and equipment to help guard Bulgaria's border with Turkey," he added. 

The Bratislava Roadmap will guide EU action over the next months. 27 leaders want to meet again in Malta in January 2017 and conclude the reflection process at the Rome meeting in March 2017. 

"I hope that the Bratislava summit will lead to the renewing of trust and confidence in the European Union," said President Tusk. "This will only happen if and when people realise that we are delivering on our promises through loyal cooperation between member states and institutions," he added.

As of  1 December 2014, Donald Tusk heads the European Council - the institution that sets the EU's political direction and priorities. He is responsible for preparing and chairing meetings of the institution. He also ensures the external representation of the EU's common foreign and security policy at his level.