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European Council

Latest news from the Council of the European Union.

Europe needs to be a player, not a playing field, EU tells China
The EU needs a balanced relationship with China, EU president Charles Michel told Chinese president Xi Monday in a summit which underlined differences over human rights, climate and trade issues.

EU set to impose sanctions on Belarus for unfair elections
Following a European Council video conference Wednesday, EU leaders made clear they did not recognise election results presented by the Belarus authorities, which did not meet international standards.

Marathon EU summit secures EUR 750 bn recovery fund
Following a marathon four-day summit, EU leaders agreed Tuesday a EUR 750 billion recovery fund for Europe, and a long-term budget to help the EU rebuild after the pandemic and support green investment.

Post-Covid recovery the focus for Germany's EU presidency
Germany took over the presidency of the EU Council from Wednesday 1 July, with key priorities being climate action, digital sovereignty and Europe’s role in the world, alongside post-Covid-19 recovery.

EU extends current CAP rules until end 2022
EU farm ministers reached provisional agreement with the European Parliament Wednesday on continuing farming support under the current legal framework until the new CAP enters into force end 2022.

Importance of China to EU's COVID recovery underlined at summit
The importance of the EU's trading relationship with China for recovery from COVID-19 was underlined at a video conference summit Tuesday but Hong Kong and human rights was high on the agenda.

EU and UK agree new push for Brexit deal in July
EU leaders and British prime minister Boris Johnson agreed in a videoconference Monday to intensify Brexit talks in July to create the best conditions for concluding and ratifying a deal by the end of 2020.

EU, Japan strenthen ties to face COVID-19 crisis
EU and Japan leaders at a video conference Tuesday signalled close coordination in responding to the coronavirus pandemic, stressing the importance of global solidarity, cooperation and multilateralism.

EU gives go-ahead to EUR 540 bn recovery package
EU leaders endorsed in a video call Thursday an agreement on safety nets for workers, businesses and sovereigns amounting to a package worth EUR 540 bn, calling for the package to be operational by 1 June.

EU diverts nearly all resources to fight COVID-19
The EU Council adopted two proposals Tuesday to make almost all remaining funding from this year's EU Budget - plus an additional EUR 3 billion - available for the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

EU shuts borders to non-essential travel for 30 days
EU leaders agreed in a video conference Tuesday that they would reinforce the EU's external borders by placing coordinated, temporary restrictions on non-essential travel to the EU for a period of 30 days.

EU in solidarity with Greece over refugee crisis
The EU made a strong show of support for Greece Tuesday as its leaders were welcomed by Greek prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis to review the refugee crisis and tensions at the Greek-Turkish border.

Cayman Islands added to EU tax haven list
EU finance ministers at their meeting on Tuesday added the Cayman Islands and Panama to the EU list of 'non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes', in addition to the 8 jurisdictions that are already listed.

VAT rules simplified for Europe's smaller businesses
EU finance ministers adopted simplified VAT rules applicable to small businesses Tuesday, with a view to reducing administrative burdens and compliance costs and helping more efficient trade across borders.

EU states agree fish quotas for 2020
The EU Council reached political agreement Wednesday on 2020 catch limits for the main commercial fish stocks in the Atlantic, the North Sea and international fisheries in which EU vessels participate.

EU, without Poland, agrees to aim for climate neutrality by 2050
EU leaders, not including Poland, endorsed Friday the objective of making the EU climate-neutral by 2050 in line with the Paris agreement, as they ended their two-day summit in Brussels.

EU sets up sanctions against Turkey for Cyprus oil drilling
The EU Council adopted a framework for restrictive measures Monday in response to unauthorised drilling by Turkey of hydrocarbons in the Eastern Mediterranean, enabling sanctions on individuals or entities.

Brexit: EU formally adopts Article 50 extension to Jan 31
'Make the best use of this time", EU Council president Donald Tusk told the United Kingdom Tuesday, as the EU formally extended the period under Article 50 in which Britain can withdraw from the EU.

EU leaders endorse Boris Johnson's Brexit deal
"We've got a great new deal that takes back control," said British prime minister Johnson after EU leaders at a summit Thursday endorsed a revised UK withdrawal agreement and political declaration.

EU unwavering in its support for Ukraine
At the 21st EU-Ukraine Summit in Kiev Monday, the European Union affirmed its strong partnership with Ukraine as well as its support for the country's continued progress on reform and fighting corruption.

Finland's EU presidency kicks off in Helsinki
Finland's presidency of the EU, which began 1 July, promises to focus on strengthening the Union's common values and the rule of law, as well as its position as a global leader in climate action.

Ursula von der Leyen nominated as next EU Commission chief
The EU at a special summit Tuesday proposed Ursula von der Leyen, Germany's German defence minister and a member of the centre-right CDU, as candidate for the next president of the European Commission.

EU will not reopen talks on UK withdrawal agreement
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.

Europe's leaders take stock of Euro-election results
The European Union's leaders met at a summit Tuesday to take stock of the weekend's European election results and to kick off the nomination process for new heads of the EU institutions.

EU approves unprecedented cuts to single-use plastics
EU ministers gave final approval Tuesday to new laws to tackle marine litter coming from single-use plastic products found on European beaches, as well as abandoned fishing gear and oxo-degradable plastics.