Migration’s new laws, defense issues, but basically Brexit are the key issues to be discussed at the European Summit that is beginning today and lasts till tomorrow in Brussels.
Leaders would be discussing measures to limit migratory flows, but also the progress made on changes to the common European Asylum System. A long-standing conversation, due to the strong resistance of the Central European countries – and especially Visegrad – and the parallel discussions on the revision of the now known “Dublin Regulation” do not show so many solid results of solidarity for Greece and Italy as first countries of migrants’ arrivals.
Issues on Turkey will be discussed during the dinner, after the request of Chancellor A. Merkel. Before German elections, she had called the leaders of the European member states to discuss in order to find a way to re-start the procedures for Turkey’s EU membership, which in practice have been frozen.
Diplomats have told IBNA that although for the German Chancellor the issue is no longer important, the leaders would want to send a message to EU neighbors that Turkey remain a “strategic ally” and wish to continue the co-operation. At the same time, they remain cautious towards Erdogan and its “threats” – and especially the restoration of the death penalty.
The issue that concerned European leaders the most is Brexit, for which the negotiations are “stuck”. After Wednesday’s British Prime Minister Teresa May’s meeting with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, the problem remains. But European Summit’s renewed program of leaders includes a… breakfast with May in the European Council building, where she would inform the 27 about what is happening within the UK and what are the intentions of her government. Then the British Prime Minister will leave and the rest will discuss with European negotiator Michel Barnier the next steps.
According to a leak published οn the European press, the leaders would be asked to lower their expectations in their decision to “agree first the conditions for the departure of the United Kingdom and then determine future trade relations”. The 27 are expected to extend the mandate to Mr Barnier so that he can negotiate the next day, Britain’s relationship with the EU. It would be a gift for T. May.
The 28 will again see permanent structured cooperation in the defence sector (PESCO). Last but not least, the leaders will analyze the best ways to harness opportunities and address the challenges posed by the digital revolution.
Donald Tusk’s letter
European Council’s President, Donald Tusk has sent a letter to the EU leaders, proposing an ambitious timeline of 13 Summits over the next two years to reboot the European Union after the shock of Brexit and other setbacks. Donald Tusk announced the schedule of talks just weeks after calls for deep EU reform by French President Emmanuel Macron, as well as by European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker.
These include a special EU summit in Romania just weeks after Britain is expected to finally leave the Union in March 2019, as well as a special security meeting in Vienna next year.
“I am very happy with your willingness to accelerate our work and overcome the sense of powerlessness,” D. Tusk wrote…/IBNA