European Council, 22-23/06/2017
The June European Council focussed on security and defence, foreign affairs, climate change, economy, trade and migration.
Security and defence
EU leaders strongly condemned the recent terrorist attacks. They reaffirmed their commitment to cooperate at EU level to:
- fight online radicalisation
- prevent and counter violent extremism
- tackle terrorism financing
- improve information sharing and the interoperability of databases
The European Council also agreed on the need to launch an inclusive and ambitious permanent structured cooperation (PESCO) to strengthen Europe's security and defence. Within three months, member states will agree a common list of criteria and commitments, together with concrete capability projects, in order to start this cooperation.
"It is a historic step, because such cooperation will allow the EU to move towards deeper integration in defence. Our aim is for it to be ambitious and inclusive, so every EU country is invited to join."
Donald Tusk at the European Council press conference
In addition, the European Council welcomed the Commission's communication on a European Defence Fund and looked forward to its swift operationalisation. Leaders called for rapid agreement on the proposal for a European defence industrial development programme.
Paris Agreement on climate change
''The Agreement remains a corner stone for global efforts to effectively tackle climate change, and cannot be renegotiated,'' said the EU leaders.
The heads of state or government reaffirmed the EU's commitment to swift and full implementation of the Paris Agreement on climate change, including its climate finance goals, and to lead the global transition to clean energy.
They stressed EU's enhanced cooperation with international partners, demonstrating solidarity with future generations and responsibility for the whole planet.
Following the working dinner, leaders from the EU27 member states met to review the latest developments in the negotiations following the United Kingdom's notification under Article 50 TEU.
In the margins of this meeting, they endorsed the procedure for the relocation of the EU agencies currently located in the UK.
Jobs, growth, and competitiveness
The return of economic growth to all 28 member states is a positive development that needs to be consolidated.
"There is a renewed hope in the European project, which positively impacts on our economy. This confidence translates into strong growth, more consumption, more investments, and above all, more jobs."Donald Tusk at the European Council press conference, 23 June 2017
Leaders reaffirmed their commitment to free trade and investment, while ensuring it is also fair and mutually beneficial. The European Council called on the co-legislators to swiftly agree on WTO-compatible trade defence instruments to tackle unfair trade practices.
"Europe needs to better protect our people from unfair trade practices, for example by introducing more reciprocity. We agreed that the Commission will analyse investments from third countries in strategic sectors."
Donald Tusk at the European Council press conference, 23 June 2017
Leaders encouraged progress on all ongoing negotiations for ambitious and balanced free trade agreements, including with Mercosur and Mexico. They welcomed the progress achieved recently in the negotiations with Japan, potentially paving the way for a political agreement.
The European Council stressed that additional efforts are needed to achieve the goals reflected in its June 2016 conclusions. It invited the Council to report on further progress in June 2018.
Leaders called for concrete action to ensure a strong and competitive industrial base for the single market, building on the Council conclusions of May 2017.
It also encouraged the Council and the European Parliament to rapidly agree on the extension and reinforcement of the European fund for strategic investments.
The European Council endorsed the country-specific recommendations, thus concluding the 2017 European Semester - the EU's economic policy coordination procedure.
EU leaders called for further action to stem the flow of migrants from Libya to Italy, along the Central Mediterranean route. In particular, they focused on:
- the provision of further training and equipment to Libyan coast guards
- closer cooperation with countries of origin and transit
- further efforts to increase returns
They said that readmission agreements with non-EU countries should be urgently put in place.
EU leaders also reiterated the need to reform the common asylum system. "Thanks to the progress made under the Maltese presidency, there is a common understanding that the reformed CEAS needs to strike the right balance between responsibility and solidarity", said the leaders.