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Strategic sovereignty for Europe

11-09-2020

The current coronavirus pandemic has exposed the vulnerability of the European Union to external actors, and has enhanced its progress towards 'strategic sovereignty'. This notion signifies the ability to act autonomously, to rely on one's own resources in key strategic areas and to cooperate with partners whenever needed. To fully develop such strategic sovereignty, the EU needs to show political will and strengthen its capacity to act. It has to give up its silo approach to policies and address ...

The current coronavirus pandemic has exposed the vulnerability of the European Union to external actors, and has enhanced its progress towards 'strategic sovereignty'. This notion signifies the ability to act autonomously, to rely on one's own resources in key strategic areas and to cooperate with partners whenever needed. To fully develop such strategic sovereignty, the EU needs to show political will and strengthen its capacity to act. It has to give up its silo approach to policies and address them in a more coordinated manner. It also needs to move progressively towards 'smart power': relying on 'soft power' tools, whilst incrementally developing 'hard power' ones, including a fully-fledged EU defence instrument. Deepening the European project, including by tapping into the still unused/under-used potential of the Lisbon Treaty, will also bring the EU closer to strategic sovereignty, while also allowing it to reap the full benefits of the integration project. A strategically sovereign EU would represent a protective shield preventing powers that are increasingly influential on the global scene from turning it into their 'playground'.

Outcome of EU-China video-summit of 22 June 2020

30-06-2020

On 22 June 2020, the EU and China held their 22nd summit by videoconference. It was the occasion for the EU and Chinese leadership to touch upon a wide range of dimensions of the both strategic and challenging bilateral relationship. Topics included trade, climate change, international peace and security, Hong Kong and human rights as well as the response to the coronavirus outbreak. Yet, no joint statement was adopted as further progress would require ‘reciprocity and trust’. China is for the EU ...

On 22 June 2020, the EU and China held their 22nd summit by videoconference. It was the occasion for the EU and Chinese leadership to touch upon a wide range of dimensions of the both strategic and challenging bilateral relationship. Topics included trade, climate change, international peace and security, Hong Kong and human rights as well as the response to the coronavirus outbreak. Yet, no joint statement was adopted as further progress would require ‘reciprocity and trust’. China is for the EU both a partner committed to multilateralism, on which it nevertheless pursues in its own path, and a competitor, using assertively different economic and trade tools such as state subsidies or foreign direct investments to gain market share.

Key issues in the European Council: State of play in June 2020

17-06-2020

This EPRS publication, 'Key issues in the European Council', is updated quarterly to coincide with European Council meetings. It aims to provide an overview of the institution’s activities on major EU issues, by analysing twelve broad policy areas, explaining the legal and political background and the main priorities and orientations defined by the European Council in each field. It also assesses the results of European Council involvement in these policy areas to date, and identifies future challenges ...

This EPRS publication, 'Key issues in the European Council', is updated quarterly to coincide with European Council meetings. It aims to provide an overview of the institution’s activities on major EU issues, by analysing twelve broad policy areas, explaining the legal and political background and the main priorities and orientations defined by the European Council in each field. It also assesses the results of European Council involvement in these policy areas to date, and identifies future challenges in the various policy fields.

Outcome of the Zagreb EU-Western Balkans video-summit of 6 May 2020

11-05-2020

The EU-Western Balkans Summit, which normally would have been held in Zagreb, took place by video-conference on Wednesday 6 May 2020. The focus was on a joint response to the crisis and on the common commitment to support the political, economic and social transformation of the region. The EU and Western Balkan leaders adopted the Zagreb Declaration, confirming the region’s ‘European perspective’, albeit without mentioning enlargement as a process.

The EU-Western Balkans Summit, which normally would have been held in Zagreb, took place by video-conference on Wednesday 6 May 2020. The focus was on a joint response to the crisis and on the common commitment to support the political, economic and social transformation of the region. The EU and Western Balkan leaders adopted the Zagreb Declaration, confirming the region’s ‘European perspective’, albeit without mentioning enlargement as a process.

Western Balkans on the European Council agenda: Overview of discussions since the Lisbon Treaty

02-04-2020

The European Council to endorse the 24 March 2020 Council political agreement on the opening of negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia.

The European Council to endorse the 24 March 2020 Council political agreement on the opening of negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia.

The European Council as COVID-19 crisis manager: A comparison with previous crises

27-03-2020

The COVID-19 outbreak confronts the European Union with a severe crisis, affecting both individual EU citizens’ lives and society as a whole. Due to its role and centrality in the EU's institutional framework, the European Council is once again called upon to exercise its crisis-management role. Similarities can be drawn with past crises as regards both short and long-term responses. The main difference to previous crises, for instance, in the economy or on migration, which impacted a limited number ...

The COVID-19 outbreak confronts the European Union with a severe crisis, affecting both individual EU citizens’ lives and society as a whole. Due to its role and centrality in the EU's institutional framework, the European Council is once again called upon to exercise its crisis-management role. Similarities can be drawn with past crises as regards both short and long-term responses. The main difference to previous crises, for instance, in the economy or on migration, which impacted a limited number of EU policies, is that the COVID-19 crisis touches the entire spectrum of policies at both European and national level, making a common response more challenging, as competences are divided between the different strata of the EU's multi-level governance system. Ultimately, this crisis has the potential to reshape EU policies, leading to increased cross-policy cooperation and possibly a centrally coordinated response mechanism.

Key issues in the European Council - State of play in March 2020

26-03-2020

This EPRS publication, 'Key issues in the European Council', which will be updated quarterly to coincide with European Council meetings, aims to provide an overview of the institution’s activities on major EU issues. It analyses twelve broad policy areas, explaining the legal and political background and the main priorities and orientations defined by the European Council.

This EPRS publication, 'Key issues in the European Council', which will be updated quarterly to coincide with European Council meetings, aims to provide an overview of the institution’s activities on major EU issues. It analyses twelve broad policy areas, explaining the legal and political background and the main priorities and orientations defined by the European Council.

European Council conclusions - A rolling check-list of commitments to date

26-03-2020

The role of the European Council – to 'provide the Union with the necessary impetus for its development' and to define its 'general political directions and priorities' – has evolved rapidly over the last decade. This overview of European Council conclusions is the latest edition of the Rolling Check-List, which has been published regularly by the European Council Oversight Unit since 2014. It is designed to review the degree of progress in achieving the goals that the European Council has set itself ...

The role of the European Council – to 'provide the Union with the necessary impetus for its development' and to define its 'general political directions and priorities' – has evolved rapidly over the last decade. This overview of European Council conclusions is the latest edition of the Rolling Check-List, which has been published regularly by the European Council Oversight Unit since 2014. It is designed to review the degree of progress in achieving the goals that the European Council has set itself and to assist the Parliament in exercising its important oversight role in this field.

Outcome of the meetings of EU leaders, 12-13 December 2019

17-12-2019

At the first European Council meeting chaired by the new President, Charles Michel, the main issues on the agenda were climate change, the next Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), and the proposed Conference on the Future of Europe. Regarding climate change, the European Council announced an agreement on the objective of achieving a climate-neutral EU by 2050, despite the refusal of one Member State to commit to implementing this objective at this stage. On the MFF, the European Council did not ...

At the first European Council meeting chaired by the new President, Charles Michel, the main issues on the agenda were climate change, the next Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), and the proposed Conference on the Future of Europe. Regarding climate change, the European Council announced an agreement on the objective of achieving a climate-neutral EU by 2050, despite the refusal of one Member State to commit to implementing this objective at this stage. On the MFF, the European Council did not reach agreement, but mandated its President to take the negotiations forward. The European Council also considered the idea of a Conference on the Future of Europe, and tasked the in-coming Croatian Council presidency to work towards defining a Council position on the matter, and on that basis, to engage with the European Parliament and the Commission. EU leaders also discussed a wide range of international issues, including relations with Turkey and Russia.

Outlook for the meetings of EU leaders on 12-13 December 2019

09-12-2019

The main issues on the agenda of the European Council are climate change and the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF). EU leaders will also address the idea of a Conference on the Future of Europe, with the aim of developing a joint position of Member States on the initiative. In addition, the European Council (Article 50) meeting is expected to discuss the result of the general election in the UK (taking place on 12 December) and the likely consequences for the Brexit process, as well as preparations ...

The main issues on the agenda of the European Council are climate change and the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF). EU leaders will also address the idea of a Conference on the Future of Europe, with the aim of developing a joint position of Member States on the initiative. In addition, the European Council (Article 50) meeting is expected to discuss the result of the general election in the UK (taking place on 12 December) and the likely consequences for the Brexit process, as well as preparations for the negotiations on future EU-UK relations. Finally, the Euro Summit will concentrate on the revision of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) Treaty, the budgetary instrument for convergence and competitiveness (BICC), and technical work on the strengthening of the banking union.

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