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Video conference of the members of the European Council, Brussel

De letters WWW staan op het scherm
Kevin Bergenhenegouwen
datum 17 maart 2020 17:00
locatie Online Toon locatie
organisatie Europese Raad

Main results

On 17 March, the members of the European Council followed up, by video conference, on the EU actions responding to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Leaders focused on:

  • limiting the spread of the virus
  • the provision of medical equipment, with a particular focus on masks and respirators
  • promoting research, including research into a vaccine
  • tackling socio-economic consequences
  • helping the citizens stranded in third countries

"We reaffirmed the need to work together and to do everything necessary to tackle the crisis and its consequences. The priority is the health of our citizens."

Charles Michel, President of the European Council

Limiting the spread of the virus

To limit the spread of the virus globally, leaders agreed to reinforce the external borders by applying a coordinated temporary restriction of non-essential travel to the EU for a period of 30 days.

Leaders also endorsed the guidelines proposed by the Commission on border management. “We need to ensure passage of medicines, food and goods and our citizens must be able to travel to their home countries," said President Michel after the meeting.

Providing medical equipment

Leaders supported the Commission's efforts to:

  • engage with the industry
  • run joint public procurements that have been recently launched and those which will be shortly finalized to provide sufficient protective equipment
  • purchase protective equipment through the civil protection framework

Promoting research

The members of the European Council stressed the need to share information and to develop a vaccine and make it available to all those in need. They showed support for the European companies in that respect.

Tackling socio-economic consequences

Leaders endorsed the Eurogroup statement of 16 March and invited the Eurogroup to continuously and closely monitor economic and financial developments and to adapt without delay a coordinated policy response to the rapidly evolving situation.

They also supported the various initiatives taken by the Commission in the areas of the single market, such as the adaptation of the state aid rules and the use of the flexibilities provided for in the Stability and Growth Pact and the recourse to the EU budget.

Helping citizens stranded in third countries

Leaders are committed to coordinate among their embassies and the EU delegations in third countries. "We will jointly arrange repatriation of EU citizens, where necessary and possible, and make use of the Union’s Civil protection mechanism," said President Michel.

Next meetings

Leaders decided to postpone the ordinary European Council planned on 26 and 27 March. They agreed to hold another video conference next week.


This was the second meeting of this sort. On 10 March, the members of the European Council discussed, by video conference, how to coordinate EU efforts. They stressed the need for a joint European approach and close coordination with the European Commission. They agreed that health ministers and interior ministers should consult with one another on a daily basis to ensure proper coordination of and direction for common European guidance.



bijeenkomst Europese Raad


Europese Raad

De Europese Raad bestaat uit de regeringsleiders of staatshoofden van de 27 lidstaten van de Europese Unie, de vaste voorzitter en de voorzitter van de Europese Commissie. De Hoge Vertegenwoordiger voor het gemeenschappelijk buitenlands en veiligheidsbeleid woont de bijeenkomsten van dit orgaan ook bij. Alleen de regeringsleiders of staatshoofden hebben stemrecht tijdens de vergaderingen. De Europese Raad heeft geen wetgevingstaak, maar stelt wel de politieke richting van de EU vast.


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