European Council, 19-20/03/2015
During the meeting, EU leaders agreed to establish an Energy Union. They also discussed economic topics and external relations, the situation in Libya, relations with Russia and Ukraine, and the objectives of the upcoming Eastern Partnership summit in Riga.
The European Council agreed to set out the first steps of an Energy Union. EU leaders are committed to building affordable, secure and sustainable energy within the EU.
At their meeting, their discussion focused on energy security and transparency in gas contracts. All gas contracts must be in line with EU law, more transparent and should not negatively impact Europe's energy security.
EU leaders also agreed to:
- develop innovative strategies for a new generation of renewable energies and increase energy efficiency
- step-up the EU climate diplomacy for a successful Paris climate summit in December 2015
EU leaders agreed on the objectives of the Eastern Partnership summit, which will take place in Riga on 21-22 May 2015. The European Council repeated its commitment to the eastern partners and set as a priority to strengthen the democratic institutions to the east.
Relations with Russia and Ukraine
Leaders decided to align the existing sanctions regime to the implementation of the Minsk agreements. Economic sanctions will remain enforced until the end of 2015 when the last point of the peace plan is to be implemented: Ukraine regaining control over its borders in the east.
EU leaders also stressed the need to challenge Russia's ongoing campaign of public disinformation about the conflict in Ukraine. The EU High Representative, Federica Mogherini, will prepare an action plan on strategic communication for the June European Council.
The EU remains committed to Libya's transition and the work of UN Special Representative, Bernardino Leon. EU leaders called for an immediate and unconditional ceasefire, and a rapid agreement on a Government of National Unity.
EU leaders recognised the need to manage migration properly and to implement the actions, agreed by the Council in October 2014 to better manage migratory flows, and strengthen Triton, the Frontex Operation in the central Mediterranean. A more concerted effort is needed to increase the EU's support to the countries of origin and transit.
2015 European Semester
The European Council discussed the economic situation in Europe and the implementation of structural reforms by the member states.
The leaders endorsed the three priorities of the 2015 annual growth survey:
- structural reforms
- fiscal responsibility
They invited the member states to reflect these priorities in their national reform programmes and stability or convergence programmes, which are expected in May 2015.
Investment plan for Europe
EU leaders welcomed the adoption of the Council's negotiating position on the proposal on the European fund for strategic investments (EFSI).
The European Council expects the negotiations with the European Parliament to be over in June 2015 to allow the fund to be up and running from mid-2015.
Leaders also discussed the state of play in the negotiations with the US on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreement. They repeated their commitment to conclude the negotiations by the end of the year and to step up the efforts to communicate the benefits of the agreement.
Invitation letter and background note
Tripartite social summit
On 19 March, ahead of the European Council meeting, Donald Tusk joined Jean-Claude Juncker and Laimdota Straujuma, Prime Minister of Latvia to chair the summit, a forum for dialogue between the EU institutions and the European social partners.
The spring social summit's theme was 'Investing in growth and creating jobs: stepping up the contribution of the social partners.'