EU Flash: European Council Meeting and President Tusk’s Leaders’ Agenda

27/10/2017

During its latest meeting on October 19 and 20th, the European Council focussed on the ongoing efforts regarding migration, digitalisation, external relations and the Brexit negotiations. The Council also established its work programme for the months and years to come through the Leaders' Agenda. 

Below you will find a summary of these topics. 

European Council Meeting

During the October meeting of the European Council, the EU Heads of State or Government took stock of the progress made on migration, the Digital Single Market, defence and security, external relations with a focus on Turkey, and the future of Europe.

Digital Europe

Discussions were held on the aims set during the Tallinn Digital Summit to move forward with the development of a digital Europe. Three important legal acts were debated: geo-blocking, audio-visual media, and the cross-border delivery of parcels. The completion of the agreement on the free movement of data as well as digital taxation measures were also discussed.

The European Council highlighted the importance of a future-oriented regulatory framework. This is why completing the Digital Single Market Strategy in all its elements by the end of 2018 remains an essential task. It was concluded that despite considerable progress, work in this area needs to be accelerated in order to meet this deadline.

Brexit negotiations

The EU Heads of State or Government concluded that there was not sufficient progress to move to the next phase of negotiations. The Council and the UK agreed to work together towards resolving the outstanding issues and allowing for further progress at December's Council.

Deepening of the Economic and Monetary Union

President Tusk underlined the importance of the EMU reform and the completion of the Banking Union. More concrete discussions will be held on this topic during the December European Council.

He aims to take the first very concrete steps, by June towards establishing the European Monetary Fund and strengthening the stability of the Banking Union. If we don't reach agreement by June, I will say precisely why it wasn't possible, and who is responsible.

Leaders’ Agenda

President Tusk presented the Leaders’ Agenda. The aim of the agenda is to move forward in Europe on key issues, like security or migration, while keeping unity in the EU. Firstly, Tusk proposes a more political approach during discussions, and more meetings in order to overcome deadlocks in the Council of Ministers. To break deadlocks in particular, Tusk proposes Decision Notes that will report on differing views, precisely describing the scope of conflict and thus allowing us to hold a serious, political discussion. Secondly, Tusk deems a rigorous follow-up of meetings necessary to ensure that decisions are properly implemented.

President Tusk also brought up the future composition of the European Parliament. In light of Brexit as well as the changing demography, President Tusk planned a special European Council in February next year to deal with this matter. According to Tusk, the most natural solution would be to adopt a simple rule: fewer countries, fewer mandates. 

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