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Towards a new settlement for the UK in the EU

Discussions at the European Council on 18 and 19 February will be dominated by the negotiations on the UK deal and the ongoing migration and refugee crisis.

Following intense negotiations at all levels on the proposed deal with the UK, EU leaders will seek to reach an agreement at their meeting in Brussels.

On the migration and refugee crisis, the European Council will look at the implementation of the decisions already taken and prepare the ground for future decisions to be taken at its next meeting in March.

Discussions will focus on humanitarian assistance, external border management, the implementation of the EU-Turkey Action Plan and the operation of hotspots.

Towards a new settlement for the UK in the EU

Discussions at the European Council on 18 and 19 February will be dominated by the negotiations on the UK deal and the ongoing migration and refugee crisis.

Following intense negotiations at all levels on the proposed deal with the UK, EU leaders will seek to reach an agreement at their meeting in Brussels.

On the migration and refugee crisis, the European Council will look at the implementation of the decisions already taken and prepare the ground for future decisions to be taken at its next meeting in March.

Discussions will focus on humanitarian assistance, external border management, the implementation of the EU-Turkey Action Plan and the operation of hotspots.

The European Council

The European Council consists of the heads of state or government of the EU's member states, together with its President and the European Commission President. It defines the EU's general political direction and priorities.

The Council of the EU

The Council of the EU represents the member states' governments. Also known informally as the EU Council, it is where national ministers from each EU country meet to adopt laws and coordinate policies.

What is the Council?

The European Council and the Council of the EU are two very closely linked institutions. They have similar names and share the same buildings and staff - the General Secretariat of the Council (GSC). However, they have very different roles and membership. 

In focus

Car emissions testing: 2nd package gets green light

On 12 February, the Council gave its green light to the adoption of the second package of rules on real driving emission (RDE) tests.

It sets further rules to measure pollutant emissions from cars and other light vehicles more accurately. The package establishes not-to-exceed emission limits for RDE tests and the date from when those tests will apply to new models and new cars.

As the European Parliament did not oppose, the European Commission can now adopt the 2nd package. The 1st package got the green light by the Council in November 2015.

Two other packages are expected to complete the legal framework for real driving emissions tests.

Council agrees on its priorities in the fight against terrorist financing

On 12 February, the Council adopted conclusions on the action plan for strengthening the fight against terrorist financing.

The Council expects progress primarily on:

  • the fight against the use of virtual currencies for terrorist financing
  • improving financial intelligence units' access to information
  • measures concerning prepaid cards
  • measures against illicit cash movements

It also called for the establishment of an EU platform containing information about people and organisations connected with terrorist activity whose assets are frozen by member states.

The Council agreed on regular progress reviews at its upcoming meetings. The plan was proposed by the European Commission on 2 February 2016 in response to the recent terrorist attacks in Europe.

In focus

Car emissions testing: 2nd package gets green light

On 12 February, the Council gave its green light to the adoption of the second package of rules on real driving emission (RDE) tests.

It sets further rules to measure pollutant emissions from cars and other light vehicles more accurately. The package establishes not-to-exceed emission limits for RDE tests and the date from when those tests will apply to new models and new cars.

As the European Parliament did not oppose, the European Commission can now adopt the 2nd package. The 1st package got the green light by the Council in November 2015.

Two other packages are expected to complete the legal framework for real driving emissions tests.

Council agrees on its priorities in the fight against terrorist financing

On 12 February, the Council adopted conclusions on the action plan for strengthening the fight against terrorist financing.

The Council expects progress primarily on:

  • the fight against the use of virtual currencies for terrorist financing
  • improving financial intelligence units' access to information
  • measures concerning prepaid cards
  • measures against illicit cash movements

It also called for the establishment of an EU platform containing information about people and organisations connected with terrorist activity whose assets are frozen by member states.

The Council agreed on regular progress reviews at its upcoming meetings. The plan was proposed by the European Commission on 2 February 2016 in response to the recent terrorist attacks in Europe.