At June European Council, Leaders advance on European approach to trade, migration, digital and Euro area reform
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker participated yesterday and today in the European Council where EU leaders delivered, in a spirit of solidarity and responsibility, on key issues such as migration, security and defence, as well as economic and financial affairs.
On migration, a common European approach prevailed along three main elements: the external dimension, the protection of the external borders and the internal dimension. Notably, Leaders agreed to unlock funds to help address the root causes of migration, as well as unlocking the second tranche of the EU-Turkey Statement. They also backed the Commission's intention to come forward with new proposals to step up returns and further reinforce the European Border and Coast Guard Agency to work in synergy with the European Asylum Agency at the external borders. Leaders also agreed to pursue options for regional cooperation on disembarkation in the EU and in partnership with third countries. The Commission is today publishing a note containing options for cooperation on disembarkation, prepared to inform the debate during the discussions yesterday.
On security and defence, EU leaders underlined that Europe must take greater responsibility for its own security. They agreed to take concrete steps to strengthen European defence by enhancing defence investment, capability development, and operational readiness. They had an exchange of views with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on EU-NATO cooperation.
On Trade, in a context of growing trade tensions, the European Council stressed the need to preserve and deepen the rules-based multilateral system. President Juncker stressed that he wishes to maintain the dialogue with the United States and announced that he will travel to Washington to meet President Trump before the end of July. The European Council called for the legislative proposal on the screening of foreign direct investments to be adopted swiftly. This would further bolster the EU's trade agenda focused on ambitious, balanced and mutually beneficial trade agreements with global partners.
On digital, President Juncker recalled that the Commission put 29 proposals on the table and called on Leaders to advance on the 12 yet to be adopted.
On economic and financial affairs, the European Council endorsed the integrated country-specific recommendations as discussed by the Council, thus allowing the conclusion of the 2018 European Semester. The current good economic situation should be used for strengthening the reform momentum.
The European Council welcomed and supported the agreement reached between the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Greece on the name issue. This, together with the agreement between Bulgaria and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia on the Treaty of Friendship, Good Neighbourliness, and Cooperation, sets a strong example for others in the region to strengthen good neighbourly relations.
EU Heads of State or Government also discussed the Article 50 negotiations with expressing their concern that no substantial progress has been made, notably on the backstop solution for Ireland/Northern Ireland. Leaders also called for an acceleration of Brexit-preparedness work at all levels.
At the inclusive Euro Summit, Member States agreed to advance the work, notably on Banking Union and the common backstop for the Single Resolution Fund. The Commission has proposed to anchor Eurozone budget instruments firmly in the Union's budget and it is in this context that negotiations should be taken forward.