European Council, 25-26/06/2015
The European Council expressed its condolences and solidarity to France, Kuwait and Tunisia which have been the victims of savage terrorist attacks on 26 June 2015.
Discussions at the European Council meeting focused on Greece, migration, the upcoming referendum in the UK, security and defence, and economic issues.
The President of the Eurogroup briefed the EU leaders on the state of negotiations with Greece. Leaders renewed their support for the work of the institutions and the current process of negotiations.
They expect the Eurogroup to conclude this process at their meeting on Saturday.
The European Council focused on three key dimensions which must be advanced in parallel:
- relocation/resettlement to help 60,000 people
- cooperation with countries of origin and transit
On relocation and resettlement of asylum seekers, EU leaders agreed to the relocation of 40,000 persons in clear need from Italy and Greece to other member states in the next two years and to resettle another 20,000 displaced persons in clear need of international protection.
The European Council defined a return policy for migrants with no legal right to enter the EU.
EU leaders also stressed the need to accelerate readmission negotiations with the countries of origin and transit and agreed to reinforce the powers of Frontex to help return illegal migrants.
Referendum in the UK
David Cameron set out his plans for an in/out referendum. It was the first step in the negotiation process and the European Council should revert to the issue in December.
Security and defence
NATO Secretary-General, Jens Stoltenberg, joined the leaders discussion to present his views on the new security environment. The heads of state or government focused on the security challenges facing the European Union.
EU leaders called for an EU global strategy on foreign and security policy to be presented to the European Council by June 2016. They also agreed that work will continue on a more effective, visible and result oriented Common Security and Defence Policy.
The leaders concluded the 2015 European Semester by generally endorsing the country-specific recommendations.
They also welcomed the agreement reached by the European Parliament and the Council on the European Fund for Strategic Investments.
The European Council took note of the report on the Economic and Monetary Union drafted by the presidents of the European Commission, Euro Summit, Eurogroup and the European Central Bank under a mandate by the Euro Summit of October 2014. The leaders asked the Council to examine the report rapidly.
European leaders supported the digital single market strategy, which was recently unveiled by the Commission and said it should be used to promote 'inclusive growth' in all EU regions. They urged action to tackle market fragmentation, build necessary digital infrastructure and promote the digitisation of European industry.
The European Council also recognised Jacques Delors' great contribution to European unity. EU leaders were delighted to name him an honorary citizen of Europe.
President Tusk personally thanked Prime Minister Straujuma for the successful Latvian Presidency of the Council, and is looking forward to cooperating with the incoming Luxembourg Presidency.