Fri. Jul 1st, 2022

European Council conclusions on Wider Europe and the Conference on the Future of Europe, 23 June 2022

24 June 2022, 00:36

I. WIDER EUROPE

1. The European Council held a strategic discussion on the European Union’s relations with its partners in Europe. It discussed the proposal to launch a European political community.

What, who and how?

The aim is to offer a platform for political coordination for European countries across the continent. It could concern all European countries with whom we have close relations.

The objective would be to foster political dialogue and cooperation to address issues of common interest so as to strengthen the security, stability and prosperity of the European continent.

2. Such a framework will not replace existing EU policies and instruments, notably enlargement, and will fully respect the European Union’s decision-making autonomy.

3. Building on this first exchange of views, the European Council will revert to the issue.


23 June 2022, 21:50

II. UKRAINE

4. The European Council discussed the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine in its different dimensions. The European Council reiterates that it firmly stands with Ukraine and that the European Union will continue to provide strong support for Ukraine’s overall economic, military, social and financial resilience, including humanitarian aid.

5. The European Council resolutely condemns Russia’s indiscriminate attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure, and urges Russia to immediately and unconditionally withdraw all its troops and military equipment from the entire territory of Ukraine within its internationally recognised borders. International humanitarian law, including on the treatment of prisoners of war, must be respected. Ukrainians, notably children, who have been forcibly removed to Russia must be immediately allowed to return safely. Russia, Belarus and all those responsible for war crimes and the other most serious crimes will be held to account for their actions, in accordance with international law.

The adoption of the sixth package of EU sanctions further intensifies pressure on Russia to end its war against Ukraine. Work will continue on sanctions, including to strengthen implementation and prevent circumvention. The European Council calls on all countries to align with EU sanctions, in particular candidate countries. Work should swiftly be finalised on the Council decision adding the violation of Union restrictive measures to the list of EU crimes.

6. The European Union remains strongly committed to providing further military support to help Ukraine exercise its inherent right of self-defence against the Russian aggression and defend its territorial integrity and sovereignty. To this end, the European Council calls on the Council to swiftly work on a further increase of military support.

7. The European Council notes that the Commission will soon present a proposal to grant Ukraine new exceptional macro-financial assistance of up to EUR 9 billion in 2022. It calls on the Commission to swiftly present its proposals on EU support for the reconstruction of Ukraine, in consultation with international partners, organisations and experts.

8. Russia, by weaponising food in its war against Ukraine, is solely responsible for the global food security crisis it has provoked. The European Council urges Russia to immediately stop targeting agricultural facilities and removing cereals, and to unblock the Black Sea, in particular the port of Odesa, so as to allow the export of grain and commercial shipping operations. The European Council supports the efforts of the United Nations Secretary-General to this end. The European Council underlines that EU sanctions against Russia allow the free flow of agricultural and food products and the delivery of humanitarian assistance.

9. The European Council strongly supports the efforts on the Solidarity Lanes to facilitate food exports from Ukraine via different land routes and EU ports. It calls on the Commission and the Member States, building in particular on the FARM initiative as well as UN and G7 initiatives, to step up their efforts:

(1) to support developing countries to reorient, where necessary, their supply chains;

(2) to accelerate the delivery of the relevant Team Europe flagship initiatives agreed at the recent European Union – African Union Summit which seek to develop sustainable food production, strengthen agricultural productivity, including on protein crops, and agri-business capacity on the African continent; and

(3) to work on initiatives together with international partners to support the development of manufacturing capacity of inputs in developing countries, in particular sustainable fertilisers.

 

III. MEMBERSHIP APPLICATIONS OF UKRAINE, THE REPUBLIC OF MOLDOVA AND GEORGIA

10. The European Council recognises the European perspective of Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova and Georgia. The future of these countries and their citizens lies within the European Union.

11. The European Council has decided to grant the status of candidate country to Ukraine and to the Republic of Moldova.

12. The Commission is invited to report to the Council on the fulfilment of the conditions specified in the Commission’s opinions on the respective membership applications as part of its regular enlargement package. The Council will decide on further steps once all these conditions are fully met.

13. The European Council is ready to grant the status of candidate country to Georgia once the priorities specified in the Commission’s opinion on Georgia’s membership application have been addressed.

14. The progress of each country towards the European Union will depend on its own merit in meeting the Copenhagen criteria, taking into consideration the EU’s capacity to absorb new members.

 

IV. WESTERN BALKANS

15. The European Union expresses its full and unequivocal commitment to the EU membership perspective of the Western Balkans and calls for the acceleration of the accession process.

16. Building on the revised methodology, the European Council invites the Commission, the High Representative and the Council to further advance the gradual integration between the European Union and the region already during the enlargement process itself in a reversible and merit-based manner.

17. The European Council recalls the importance of reforms, notably in the area of rule of law and in particular those related to the independence and functioning of the judiciary and the fight against corruption. It also calls on the partners to guarantee the rights and equal treatment of persons belonging to minorities.

18. The European Council was informed about the latest developments on discussions between Bulgaria and North Macedonia. It calls for a swift resolution of the last remaining issues so that accession negotiations can be opened without delay.

19. The European Council reaffirms the urgency of making tangible progress in resolving outstanding bilateral and regional disputes, particularly the Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue on normalisation of relations between Serbia and Kosovo*.

20. The European Council welcomes the political agreement reached on 12 June 2022 by the leaders of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Brussels which is needed for the stability and full functioning of the country and in order to respond to the aspirations of the people. It calls on all political leaders in Bosnia and Herzegovina to swiftly implement the commitments set out in the agreement and urgently finalise the constitutional and electoral reform, which will allow the country to advance decisively on its European path, in line with the opinion of the Commission.

21. The European Council is ready to grant the status of candidate country to Bosnia and Herzegovina and to that aim it invites the Commission to report without delay to the Council on implementation of the 14 key priorities set out in its opinion with special attention to those which constitute a substantial set of reforms in order for the European Council to revert to decide on the matter.

 

VI CONFERENCE ON THE FUTURE OF EUROPE

25. The European Council takes note of the proposals set out in the Report on the outcome of the Conference submitted to the three co-Presidents. The Conference has been a unique opportunity to engage with European citizens.

26. An effective follow-up to this report is to be ensured by the institutions, each within their own sphere of competences and in accordance with the Treaties. The European Council notes that work has already been undertaken in this regard.

27. It recalls the importance of ensuring that citizens are informed of the follow-up to the proposals made in the Report.

 

VII. EXTERNAL RELATIONS

Eastern Mediterranean

28. The European Council expressed deep concern about recent repeated actions and statements by Turkey. Turkey must respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all EU Member States. Recalling its previous conclusions and the statement of 25 March 2021, the European Council expects Turkey to fully respect international law, to de-escalate tensions in the interest of regional stability in the Eastern Mediterranean, and to promote good neighbourly relations in a sustainable way.

Belarus

29. The European Council underlines the democratic right of the Belarusian people to have new, free and fair elections. It calls on the Belarusian authorities to uphold human rights, democracy and the rule of law, to end repression and to release political prisoners.

This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244/1999 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.

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It’s time: EU candidate status will strengthen Ukraine and Europe – Metsola

This is a moment where we must remain together. Addressing EU leaders, EP President Metsola spoke also on climate, energy, inflation and the war’s social and economic impact.

European Parliament President Roberta Metsola remarks at the European Council of 23 and 24 June 2022, Brussels.

These months have not been easy. We are facing an aggressive Russia that has ripped up the rules of the game. Every State – every leader – is under unprecedented pressure with:

  • inflation at previously unheard of levels;
  • an energy crisis that means dwindling supply and rising costs
  • food shortages meaning a real possibility of global famine;
  • the social impact on the most vulnerable in our societies – only just coming out of a two-year pandemic – growing heavier by the day;
  • fluctuating markets fuelling uncertainty;
  • Russian disinformation pushing populism, nationalism and isolationism,

This is a moment where we must remain together. It is a moment we did not choose, but one that we have no choice but to meet.

I know there are no easy answers or easy decisions, rest assured that there are wrong ones, that we must avoid.

And it would have been a historically wrong decision not to grant candidate status to Ukraine and Moldova today, or give a clear perspective to Georgia.

Candidate Status

It is a decision that is warranted, that is necessary, that is possible and that I am pleased to see consensus around this table. Today is historic!

EU membership will not come overnight, we have always been honest about that, but candidate status will mean an impetus for an unprecedented reform agenda, it will mean access to programmes, and most significantly it will mean that the hope of those suffering in Ukraine, of those worried in Moldova, will translate into tangible progress. And we should be clear this is not simply some symbolic act, this will strengthen the EU and it will strengthen Ukraine and Moldova. It will show our people, as well as theirs, that our values matter more than rhetoric. That hope can mean results. And other countries waiting – those in the Western Balkans – also need to see hope lead to results. It is time.

War fatigue

It would also be wrong to assume that public opinion will continue to drive our actions in support of Ukraine or to underestimate the extent of Russian influence. We have to acknowledge that inflation-fuelled fatigue is setting in, that we are seeing many cases where the resilience of our citizens to the social and economic impact is waning and we need to push back harder. We need to counter the Kremlin’s narrative not feed into the fears it spreads.

It is not the Green Deal pushing prices up or causing inflation to hover at close to 20% in some cases. It is not our sanctions that impact purchasing power. It is because the Kremlin wants more influence. It is because they want the comfort of vassal States. It is because they think democracy is a frail concept and weakens States. We know the opposite is true.

Climate and Energy

It would be a wrong decision to backslide on our medium and long-term climate goals. We absolutely need to break free from Russian energy, end European energy islands and secure our energy independence – what is strategic autonomy without it? – Equally, we cannot pushback a promise we made to a generation. It is about security as well as the environment. So my appeal is to ensure that immediate, short-term measures do not become the new normal in the medium-term.

Inflation, Social and economic impact

It would be a wrong decision to dismiss concerns on rising costs and inflation as a passing phenomenon or to assume it will not get worse. In many States we have not reached the peak yet. We need a steady, clear and united approach that shows that we are all in this together. There is no one-state solution to the social and economic impact we are facing. Nothing should be off the table.

Sanctions and aid to Ukraine

Concurrently, we need to speed up delivery of military, humanitarian and financial aid to Ukraine. And we need to advance on sanctions.

Sanctions are a useful tool if implemented properly, and here we need to start the next package, close loopholes of extend were necessary. And it is necessary, because Russia is gambling on us blinking first. They bet that the pressure that they fuel within our societies will break our unity and they will be able go back to the future of iron curtains and spheres of influence. Of “us” versus “them”, of “might is right”. Europe has come too far to let that happen now, and pressure is growing on Russia too.

Food security

We must push back against false and cynical Russian propaganda blaming the looming food security crisis on Ukraine’s actions or EU sanctions. The blame is squarely with the aggressor.

Here, let me commend the efforts of the Commission and Member States concerning the Solidarity Lanes initiative. We should increase them and address logistical bottlenecks.

Migration

We are facing the East but we cannot underestimate the impact this war will produce on our southern neighbourhood too. We need to be ready to help and we cannot be caught unaware when migration flows pick up again. I am worried that we will soon be facing a situation that is entirely predictable and yet one that will once again find us entirely unprepared. There are options on the table that could help us in this reality of omni-crisis, with vulnerable people used as pawns in geo-political games.

Future of Europe

On the Future of Europe: We must be ambitious. We can enhance the Union’s capacity to act in vital areas such as health, energy, defence and fundamental values. The Parliament is ready to act as our two resolutions attest to. They should not be ignored. The next natural step is having a convention. I know some here are reluctant, but this is how we can keep the conversation on our EU project going. We must be ready to look at how we operate and see where we can do better.

The European Parliament stands ready to face our challenges. And is ready to do it with jointly with the Institutions and Member States.

Source – EU Parliament

 


Intervention du président Michel à l’issue de la première séance de travail du Conseil européen, 23 juin 2022

23 June 2022, 23:00

Historic agreement, historic decision. Today, we have decided to recognise the European perspective of Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia. We have decided to grant candidate status to Ukraine and Moldova and we are ready to grant candidate status to Georgia once priorities have been addressed.

C’est un moment historique qui nous permet de dessiner les contours de l’Union européenne, en décidant aujourd’hui d’accorder le statut de candidat à l’Ukraine et à la Moldavie; mais également d’être prêts à accorder ce statut de candidat à la Géorgie lorsque les priorités auront été traitées, en prenant en considération – pour l’ensemble des pays – les avis qui ont été préparés et qui seront préparés par la Commission européenne.

C’est un message très fort qui est adressé: à la fois un message d’unité et un message de détermination sur le terrain géopolitique. Nous avons eu l’occasion d’être connectés, il y a quelques instants, avec le président Zelenskyy et nous le serons également ultérieurement avec la présidente Maia Sandu, et avec la présidente Zourabichvili.

Enfin, nous avons eu l’occasion également de nous accorder sur la poursuite et l’amplification du soutien à l’Ukraine dans les différents domaines, à la fois sur le terrain militaire et sur le terrain financier. Nous avons eu l’occasion également dans nos conclusions, de confirmer notre détermination à nous engager pour répondre aux questions qui résultent de cette guerre déclenchée par la Russie en Ukraine, notamment en ce qui concerne la sécurité alimentaire. Et nous restons très investis pour aborder de manière régulière les questions liées à l’enjeu énergétique.

Enfin ce matin, nous avons eu une réunion avec les dirigeants des Balkans occidentaux qui a été l’occasion d’un échange dense, fructueux et intense et l’occasion, aussi, de réaffirmer notre souhait de revivifier le processus de dialogue avec les Balkans occidentaux. Nous mesurons bien qu’il est important d’être mobilisés pour encourager les réformes dans le domaine de l’État de droit, dans le domaine de l’indépendance de la justice et dans le domaine de la lutte contre la corruption. Mais il nous appartient aussi de nous investir avec eux pour tenter de résoudre un certain nombre de différends qui ont constitué ou constituent un certain nombre de freins.

Nous avons cette ferme volonté de continuer à progresser. Plus particulièrement, nous restons très engagés, y compris dans les heures qui viennent, en ce qui concerne ce différend entre la Bulgarie et la Macédoine du Nord. Et nous avons affirmé notre volonté, le plus vite possible, de trouver des solutions. Le Parlement bulgare devra prendre des positions très certainement dans les prochaines heures, et nous espérons que cela pourra contribuer à libérer les processus de négociations non seulement avec la Macédoine du Nord, mais également avec l’Albanie, qui est directement concernée par cette discussion.

Nous avons aussi eu l’occasion d’avoir des discussions en lien avec la Bosnie-Herzégovine. Nous avons aussi senti une volonté très forte autour de la table de redynamiser également ce processus de dialogue avec la Bosnie-Herzégovine, avec la suggestion qui a été faite que la Commission puisse relativement rapidement préparer un rapport en lien avec les différentes conditions pour que le Conseil européen puisse revenir sur le sujet de la Bosnie-Herzégovine. Nous avons affirmé que nous étions prêts à décider quant à ce statut de candidat, en prenant en considération les conclusions de ce rapport qui seront préparées par la Commission. Par ailleurs, nous soutenons tous les efforts, principalement sous la houlette du haut représentant, dans le cadre du dialogue entre Belgrade et Pristina, pour faire en sorte que là aussi, des impulsions politiques puissent être données.

Voilà quelques éléments que je voulais vous indiquer aujourd’hui. Je ne veux pas être plus long. Nous aurons l’occasion, dans la soirée de poursuivre les travaux, en particulier sur l’idée d’une communauté politique européenne. Un travail préparatoire a eu lieu. Les pays des Balkans occidentaux ont eu l’occasion de réagir aussi par rapport aux premiers contours de cette idée, et plutôt de manière positive et favorable, ce qui est un élément extrêmement intéressant.

Je souhaite également remercier en particulier la présidence française – puisque c’est le dernier Conseil européen sous présidence française; en tout cas en principe – pour l’excellente coopération, pour l’engagement au service du projet européen et pour la pleine mobilisation. Ce n’est pour l’heure pas encore terminé puisque l’on va continuer à travailler ce soir et demain. Et demain, il y aura certainement l’occasion de revenir plus en détail encore sur les réalisations de la présidence française. Mais je voulais aussi souligner dès ce soir ce message de gratitude à l’endroit de l’ensemble des équipes françaises qui ont été mobilisées, et du président plus particulièrement.

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Doorstep von Bundeskanzler Olaf Scholz beim Europäischen Rat am 23 Juni 2022

BK SCHOLZ: Dies ist heute und wird auch morgen ein ganz wichtiger historischer Europäischer Rat sein. Wir werden erneut Solidarität mit der Ukraine zeigen, aber wir werden auch eine wichtige Entscheidung für die europäische Perspektive der Ukraine treffen. Das wird Konsequenzen für Europa haben, aber natürlich auch ganz unmittelbar für die Ukraine und ihre Anstrengungen und Bemühungen. Es geht darum, dass wir jetzt die Bedingungen für die Ukraine schaffen, die notwendig sind, um sich auf diesen voraussetzungsvollen Weg zu begeben, und gleichzeitig geht es darum, dass wir auch verstehen, dass wir uns selbst erweiterungsfähig machen müssen.

Wenn das gelingt, dann ist das gleichzeitig aber auch ein Appell, dass wir Fortschritte im Hinblick auf die Perspektive der Länder des westlichen Balkans erreichen. Denen ist schon 2003 in Aussicht gestellt worden, dass sie Mitglieder der Europäischen Union werden können. Das wird im nächsten Jahr 20 Jahre her sein, und das ist ein Grund dafür, noch einmal neue Anstrengungen dafür zu unternehmen, dass auch diese Länder jetzt bald realistisch eine Beitrittsperspektive umsetzen können. Deutschland wird jedenfalls aktiv unterstützen, dass wir hier Fortschritte erreichen und dass alle darauf rechnen können, dass die Zusagen, die Europa gibt, auch eingehalten werden, wenn man in seinem eigenen Land die notwendigen Anstrengungen unternimmt. Genau das werden wir hier heute und morgen tun.

FRAGE: (akustisch unverständlich)

BK SCHOLZ: Es ist wichtig, dass wir in Europa einig handeln. Deshalb habe ich in den letzten Tagen und Wochen mit vielen sehr intensiv gesprochen und habe ganz bewusst bei meinem Besuch, den ich zusammen mit dem französischen Präsidenten, dem italienischen Ministerpräsidenten und dem rumänischen Präsidenten in Kiew durchgeführt hatte, ein Zeichen gesetzt, das vorbereitet, aber die mögliche Einheit hier auch geschaffen hat.

ZUSATZFRAGE: Wie soll das mit 30 Mitgliedsstaaten funktionieren? Da muss ja etwas passieren. Was würden Sie zuerst ändern?

BK SCHOLZ: Es ist ganz klar, dass wir hier auch darüber diskutieren müssen, dass sich Europa erweiterungsfähig machen muss. Das ist schon lange beschlossen. Jetzt geht es darum, dass wir das auch erreichen. Dazu werden sicherlich auch mehr Mehrheitsentscheidungen bei den Europäischen Räten gehören. Das geht sogar ohne Vertragsänderungen, wäre aber doch ein großer Fortschritt. Es muss auch immer für uns klar sein, dass wichtige Fragen, die uns miteinander zusammenführen, auch für die Zukunft entscheidend bleiben, nämlich die Frage des Rechtsstaats und der Demokratie. Es darf niemals in Zweifel geraten, dass das alle Mitgliedstaaten für sich zur Wesensbedingung ihrer eigenen nationalen Perspektiven erklären, aber eben auch zu einer Wesensbedingung der Europäischen Union.

Quelle – Presseabteilung der Ständigen Vertretung (via WhatsApp)