We use cookies to ensure we give you the best browsing experience on our website. Find out more on how we use cookies and how you can change your settings.

Remarks by President Donald Tusk following the first session of the European Council meeting

European Council
  • 18/02/2016
  • 23:59
  • Statements and remarks
  • 74/16
  • Home Affairs
  • Foreign affairs & international relations
  • Institutional affairs
18/02/2016
Press contacts

Jüri Laas
Press officer
+32 22815523
+32 470957561

Preben Aamann
European Council President Spokesperson
+32 22815150
+32 476850543

Good evening. We began the European Council by expressing our solidarity with Turkey and condemning the Ankara terrorist attack that prevented Prime Minister Davutoglu from being in Brussels.

Let me start with migration, where we have adopted the conclusions. We agreed that our joint action plan with Turkey remains a priority, and we must do all we can to succeed. This is why we have the intention to organise a special meeting with Turkey in the beginning of March.

But equally important as the conclusions was our discussion in this critical moment of the migration crisis. This discussion has only reinforced our commitment to building a European consensus on migration.

To do that, we must first avoid a battle among plans A, B and C. It makes no sense at all, as it creates divisions within the European Union. Instead, we must look for a synthesis of different approaches. There is no good alternative to a comprehensive European plan.

Secondly, a European solution is not only about the decisions taken in Brussels. It is also, and even in the first place, about decisions taken in the capitals. We must accept that, but at the same time we should seek to improve the co-ordination of those decisions.

And thirdly, we must respect the rules and laws that we have all adopted together. This concerns both the decisions on relocation as well as the need to gradually get back to a situation where all Members of the Schengen area fully apply the Schengen Borders Code.

Finally, as you may know, Britain was also the subject of our talks today. For now I can only state that we have made some progress, but a lot still remains to be done. Now I will hold a series of bilateral meetings starting with Prime Minister Cameron, President Hollande, Prime Minister Sobotka, and Prime Minister Michel, obviously together with the President Junker of the Commission who is also key in this process. Thank you and I wish you a good and long night.