EU leaders met on Thursday 15 October 2015 against the background of the migration and refugee crisis in Europe. The European Council was the fourth in only six months to focus on the response to the crisis.
The European Union and its member states are intensifying efforts to establish an effective, humanitarian and safe European migration policy. EU leaders agreed on the political direction and priorities for the next steps:
"If we are not able to find humanitarian and efficient solutions, then others will find solutions which are inhumane, nationalistic and for sure not European."
Donald Tusk, President of the European Council
President Tusk also initiated a discussion on broader challenges for an EU migration policy in the medium to long term. EU leaders addressed the sensitive questions of the future of the Dublin regulation, the EU border guard system and the specific role of hotspots.
EU leaders took stock of the decisions already implemented since the first Special European Council in April but also of the need to increase financial support to organisations working in the region such as UNHCR, WFP as well as support to third countries.
The European Council also discussed the political and military developments in Syria, including their impact on migration. It reiterated its support to a political solution to the conflict in close cooperation with the UN and the countries of the region.
EU leaders welcomed the announcement made by the UN of the nomination of a new Government of National Accord in Libya.
EU leaders were informed about the state of play and the next steps on the (in/out) referendum. Prime Minister Cameron is committed to setting out the UK's specific concerns in writing by early November.
They also took stock of the discussions on the presidents' report on completing the Economic and Monetary Union.
The European Council will revert to these issues at its December meeting.
EU leaders were also informed on the preparations for the COP 21 Paris climate conference and the outcome of the recent meeting of the Normandy format (France, Germany, Russia, and Ukraine) on the situation in the East of Ukraine.
The European Council also welcomed the international and independent report, conducted by the Dutch Safety Board, published on 13 October on the downing of flight MH17.
On 15 October, ahead of the European Council meeting, Donald Tusk joined Jean-Claude Juncker and Xavier Bettel, Prime Minister of Luxembourg to chair the summit, a forum for dialogue between the EU institutions and the European social partners.
Discussions focused on the following theme: “Boosting convergence, jobs and growth: towards a strengthened role of social partners". Participants discussed ways of reinforcing the role of social partners in the EU's economic and social governance.
In particular, they exchanged views on three issues :