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EU will not reopen talks on UK withdrawal agreement

EU will not reopen talks on UK withdrawal agreement

Iohannis - Tusk - Juncker - Photo EU Council

(BRUSSELS) - Ending their two-day summit Friday, EU heads of state and government looked forward to a new UK prime minister, but said they would not reopen negotiations on Britain's withdrawal agreement.

The summit was called to focus on on climate, disinformation, the long-term EU budget, and external relations, including Russia and Turkey.

On Brexit, the leaders said they looked forward to working together with the next UK Prime Minister, wanted to avoid a disorderly Brexit and, while open to talks on the Declaration on future UK-EU relations, would not re-open negotiations on the withdrawal agreement.

At the summit, the European Council adopted the EU's strategic agenda for 2019-2024.

Discussion on appointments for the EU's top jobs was to be continued on 30 June.

The 'new strategic agenda 2019-2024' sets out priority areas to steer the work of the European Council and provide guidance for the work programmes of other EU institutions. These are:

  • protecting citizens and freedoms
  • developing a strong and vibrant economic base
  • building a climate-neutral, green, fair and social Europe
  • promoting European interests and values on the global stage

The Council welcomed the work done under the outgoing Romanian presidency on the MFF package for 2021-2027, the EU's long-term budget.

Leaders agreed to hold an exchange of views in October 2019, aiming for agreement on this before the end of the year.

On climate change, EU leaders emphasised the importance of stepping up global climate action to achieve the Paris agreement objectives ahead of the United Nations Secretary-General's Climate Action Summit in September.

The Council looked for more work on processes and tools to be put in place to ensure a transition to a climate-neutral EU that will:

  • take into account specificities of the EU countries
  • preserve the competitiveness of European industry
  • use just and socially balanced measures
  • respect member states' right to decide on own energy mix
  • build on the measures already in place to achieve 2030 reduction target

For a large majority of member states, climate neutrality must be achieved by 2050.

The European Council will finalise its guidance before the end of the year with a view to the adoption of the EU's long-term strategy in early 2020.

On disinformation, EU leaders called for more efforts following the last EU elections. They said more needs to be done to raise awareness, increase preparedness and strengthen resilience to disinformation.

Leaders welcomed the Commission's intention to assess the implementation of commitments undertaken by online platforms under the Code of Practice.

They also welcomed the recent adoption of a new sanctions regime to deal with cyberattacks. They called for new measures to boost the EU's resilience to cyber and hybrid threats from outside the EU.

On 21 June, a 'Euro Summit' in an extended format of EU27 leaders looked at the economic situation together with European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi.

Leaders also discussed work done by the Eurogroup regarding deepening of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), in particular:

  • a budgetary instrument for convergence and competitiveness (BICC) for the eurozone
  • changes to the treaty establishing the European Stability Mechanism (ESM)
  • strengthening the banking union

The Euro Summit welcomed the progress made by the Eurogroup and invited it to continue working on all the elements of the package.

European Council conclusions, 20 June 2019

Statement of the Euro Summit, 21 June 2019

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