The European Council meeting focused on the political consequences of the UK referendum. The leaders also addressed other pressing issues: tackling the migratory crisis, deepening of the single market to boost growth and jobs, and enhancing the security of the EU by working more closely with NATO.
On Wednesday, the 27 heads of state or government will meet informallyto discuss the political and practical implications of ‘Brexit’. They will also start a debate on the future of the European Union with 27 member states.
Outcome of the UK referendum
The European Council meeting focused on the political consequences of the UK referendum. Prime Minister David Cameron presented the situation in the country after the vote and undertook that the decision to trigger article 50 of the Treaty on European Union would be taken by the new leadership in Britain.
“Leaders understand that some time is now needed to allow the dust to settle in the UK. But they also expect the intentions of the UK government to be specified as soon as possible,” said President Tusk at the press conference after the meeting.
EU leaders focused on the Central Mediterranean route, where flows of predominantly economic migrants remain at the same level as last year. They highlighted the need for a partnership framework of cooperation with individual countries of origin or transit, focusing on:
- pursuing results on fast and operational returns of irregular migrants
- applying the necessary leverage by using all relevant EU policies
- also mobilising elements falling within member states’ competence and seeking synergies with member states in relations with specific countries
EU leaders also recalled that crossings from Turkey to the Greek islands have now almost come to a halt. Nevertheless, it is important to continue working to further stabilise the situation and ensure a sustainable solution.
Jobs, growth and investment
Leaders said all the actions and strategies related to the single market, which the Commission has recently unveiled, should be implemented by 2018. More specifically, they called for “swift and determined progress” on:
- initiatives that aim to create a free and secure digital single market
- the introduction of a services passport that would make it easier for businesses in key areas to offer their services in another EU country
- action towards the capital markets union
- efforts towards better regulation
Every year in June the Council will report to EU leaders on progress achieved in deepening the single market.
The European Council endorsed the country-specific recommendations, following their analysis and approval by various Council configurations. The recommendations will be formally adopted by the Council on 12 July 2016, marking the end of the 2016 European Semester cycle. The member states are expected to reflect these recommendations in their national policies in 2016.
The European Council reiterated its readiness to support the government of national accord in Libya. It also welcomed the presentation of the global strategy for the EU’s foreign and security policy and invited the relevant institutions to take the work forward.
Leaders discussed EU-NATO cooperation in the presence of the NATO secretary general.
The Dutch prime minister presented the outcome of the referendum on the Association Agreement with Ukraine and the European Council invited the Council to seek a solution addressing these concerns.
Compliments of the European Council