The European Council will in December discuss the most pressing issues, including migration, security, economy and youth, and external relations.
"Our aim is clear: to strengthen Europe's security in a challenging geopolitical environment, and to better protect our citizens," said President Donald Tusk in his invitation letter ahead of the meeting.
The leaders will:
look at the implementation of the EU-Turkey Statement
assess progress on the compacts signed with the selected African countries and set orientations for further work
assess the legislative progress on the External Investment Plan and encourage swift adoption by co-legislators - to reinforce the implementation of the Valletta Action Plan and the migration compacts
discuss the reform of the Common European Asylum System, and how to apply the principles of responsibility and solidarity in the future
The European Council will reaffirm its commitment to the European Union Internal Security Strategy. It will also address the strengthening of EU cooperation on external security and defence. In particular, the heads of state or government will focus on the three priorities:
the EU Global Strategy in the area of security and defence
the European Defence Action Plan
implementation of the common set of proposals which follow up on the EU-NATO Joint Declaration signed in Warsaw in July 2016
In their joint op-ed issued in December, Presidents Donald Tusk, Jean Claude-Juncker and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg highlighted the importance of the cooperation of the two organisations.
"More than ever in a changing world, soft power alone is not enough. Security begins at home and that is why the EU is committed to doing more to protect and defend its citizens, and to help those member states who are Allies to play their full part in NATO," they wrote.
Economy, social development, youth
The leaders will take stock of progress as regards:
investment (the extension of the European Fund for Strategic Investment)
Single Market Strategies
fight against youth unemployment
The European Council is expected to exchange views on:
situation in the Netherlands in the context of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement
Russia and the conflict in Syria
Ahead of the European Council, President Donald Tusk met with Brita Hagi Hasan, President of the local Council of Eastern Aleppo.
"No-one is indifferent in the EU. I am talking about people, institutions, politicians. There are some global limitations and problems, but this is what we want to do, to be more effective when it comes to protection and assistance. We should and we will try to do everything we can to help you and the civilians in Aleppo," said President Tusk during the meeting.
He also invited Brita Hagi Hasan to address the European Council.
Informal meeting of the 27 leaders
An informal meeting of the 27 leaders will be held in the margins of the December European Council. The objective is to set out how the Brexit process will be handled by the EU 27 once the UK has notified.
Exchange of views with the President of the European Parliament
Press conference by the President of the European Council, the President of the European Commission, and the Prime Minister of Slovakia
Informal working dinner of the 27 heads of state or government
Photos and videos of the meeting
EU Heads of State or Government meet on 15 December 2016 in Brussels to discuss migration and security issues
European Council: Other meetings
Last reviewed on 16/12/2016
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