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Invitation letter by President Charles Michel to the members of the European Council ahead of their meeting on 16 December 2021

Met dank overgenomen van Europese Raad, gepubliceerd op donderdag 16 december 2021.

On Wednesday 15 December, we will meet in Brussels for the Eastern Partnership Summit. This will be the occasion to reaffirm the strategic importance of the Eastern Partnership, not least in the light of current challenges.

The following day, we will hold our regular European Council meeting and a Euro Summit in inclusive format.

COVID will very much remain at the centre of our attention. The emergence of new variants reminds us that no one is safe until everyone is safe. More than ever, vaccination, including third doses, remains our best tool in fighting the pandemic. We should spare no effort to overcome vaccine hesitancy and fight disinformation. Coordination of our measures, based on the best available scientific evidence, is critical, notably in order to preserve mobility. We will also address global cooperation, including how we can step up our efforts and remove bottlenecks in the sharing and administration of vaccines.

We will return to our work to enhance our collective preparedness, response capability and resilience to future crises.

Following our discussion in October, we will address the rise in energy prices and its impact on our citizens and businesses. Our discussion will be informed by preliminary reports on the functioning of the gas and electricity markets and on the EU Emissions-Trading System, as well as recent Commission proposals. On this crucial issue, ensuring effective follow-up will be key.

Concerning external aspects of migration, we will address all migratory routes and assess the operationalisation of the action plans with priority third countries as well as their financing.

In the face of increased global instability, we agreed that the EU needs to take more responsibility for its security. As discussed in Brdo, we will provide guidance for an ambitious Strategic Compass, which will set out a common strategic vision for the next decade. We will also discuss how to further enhance our close cooperation with NATO, which remains, for those States that are members of it, the foundation of their collective defence.

We will also return to the situation in Belarus and how best to counter the hybrid attack launched by the regime with a determined response, while addressing all dimensions of the crisis in line with fundamental rights. We will also address the Russian military build-up along the border with Ukraine. Any further military aggression against Ukraine will have massive consequences and severe cost in response.

Looking ahead to next year, we will prepare the European Union - African Union Summit scheduled to take place in Brussels on 17-18 February 2022, with the aim of creating an Alliance of prosperity and stability underpinned by a transformational investment package.

Finally, during our Euro Summit, we will assess the economic situation as well as the latest developments related to the Banking Union and the Capital Markets Union.

I look forward to seeing you in Brussels.

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