Informal meeting of heads of state or government, 12/02/2015
EU leaders discussed three challenges facing Europe:
- restoring peace in Ukraine
- fighting terrorism
- improving the European Monetary Union
Restoring peace in Ukraine
"Today we still have hope for a peaceful solution but the real test is the respect of the ceasefire. (...) we remain cautious until words put down on paper translate into real deeds."
President Poroshenko had the opportunity to brief EU leaders on the latest developments on the ground in eastern Ukraine. Chancellor Merkel and President Hollande presented the results of the Minsk agreement to the members of the European Council. They gave the agreement cautious support, until the ceasefire is respected and a real de-escalation of the conflict happens.
The debate of EU leaders focused on how to support the implementation of the agreement. The EU stands united to support the efforts of President Poroshenko to restore peace and to maintain the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.
President Tusk also welcomed the agreement on a solid International Monetary Fund programme for Ukraine.
EU fight against terrorism
EU leaders held a debate on counter-terrorism and agreed on a statement to guide the work of the EU and the member states in the coming months.
This statement focused on three areas of action:
- ensuring the security of citizens
- preventing radicalisation and safeguarding values
- cooperating with international partners
It called for specific measures, including:
- the adoption of an European Passenger Name Records (PNR) directive
- making full use of the existing Schengen framework, including through systematic and coordinated checks of EU citizens at external borders based on common risk indicators
- increasing cooperation in the fight against trafficking of firearms and terrorist financing
- working to detect and remove internet content promoting terrorism or extremism
- addressing crises and conflicts, in particular in the Southern Neighbourhood, and engaging more with third countries on security issues
Economic and Monetary Union
The leaders had an in-depth discussion on further improvements to the economic governance in the eurozone, particularly on better implementation of structural reforms. The results of discussions will feed into further work towards a genuine Economic and Monetary Union.
Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem briefed EU leaders on the outcomes of the Eurogroup meeting held on 11 February 2015 and the discussion on Greece. Prime Minister Tsipras and the President of the Eurogroup asked the institutions to work on a technical assessment before the next Eurogroup meeting on 16 February 2015.
Remarks by President Tusk ahead of the meeting
"We will discuss the biggest challenges facing Europe right now: restoring peace in Ukraine, fighting terrorism, and improving our monetary union, of course taking into account the difficult situation with Greece after yesterday's Eurogroup meeting," said President Tusk.