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Remarks by President Donald Tusk after the informal meeting of the 27 heads of state or government

Met dank overgenomen van Europese Raad, gepubliceerd op vrijdag 10 maart 2017.

Remarks by President Donald Tusk after the informal meeting of the 27 heads of state or government


Let me start with a short remark on our productive discussion yesterday evening about the Western Balkans. It is clear to all that there are inside and outside forces, trying to destabilise the region. We are not naïve. That is why leaders reaffirmed their unequivocal support for the countries in the Western Balkans, and their European perspective. We also expressed our full commitment to support EU-oriented reforms and projects. I hope this positive signal from the EU will be heard in the region.

As you know, today we met at 27 ahead of the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome. We had an honest and constructive discussion about our common future, which focused on what should be the main elements of the Rome Declaration.

It is clear from the debate that the unity of the 27 will be our most precious asset. Our last meeting in Malta, subsequent opinions voiced by some Member States as well as the European Commission's White Paper leave us in no doubt that the idea of a multi-speed Europe will be one of the discussions ahead of the Rome anniversary. I understand the reasons for this. Some expect systemic changes that would loosen intra-EU ties and strengthen the role of nations in relation to the community. Others, quite the opposite, are looking for new, deeper dimensions of integration, even if they would apply only to some Member States. Such a possibility is indeed foreseen in the Treaties currently in force. However, considering the interests of the community of 27 countries in the context of the upcoming Brexit negotiations as well as the long-term strategic interests of the EU, I will be urging everyone to strive towards maintaining political unity among the 27. This is why, when discussing the various scenarios for Europe, our main objective should be to strengthen mutual trust and unity among 27. After today's debate, I can openly say that all 27 leaders agree with this objective. This was an optimistic discussion about our common future, with a positive approach from all sides, without any exception.

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