“My ambition is that in Bratislava we can agree on the main priorities and what we need to do about them in the next few months,” said President Donald Tusk before his meeting with Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven in Stockholm.
“I have no doubt that the three main challenges are uncontrolled irregular migration, terrorism, and the fears of globalisation,” adds President Tusk, setting the priorities to the informal EU Summit of the 27 member states in Slovakian capital.
Tusk considers this meeting a historic moment at the Summit letter he sent to the 27 Heads of State and Government that arrived at Bratislava castle on Friday morning.
Brexit as a challenge that setts the new state of play between the EU and the UK is only the cause of a discussion that will, according to Tusk result on the creation of a roadmap on economic and social development, jobs and opportunities for the young, the single market, the digital agenda and investments.
“It’s my feeling that the best motto for the Bratislava meeting is that we must not let these crises go to waste,” Tusk added, asking for a “realistic diagnosis of the causes of Brexit”.
However, this discussion will not be easy, as the host, Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico, is part of the Heads of State and Government group that oppose to EU’s relocation plan, still holding a hard line.
After the EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker’s State of the Union speech in Strasbourg, just two days ago, it became evident that EU army is also a part of the agenda, in terms of EU military cooperation at a next level, as Juncker called for common military headquarters, now that the greatest enemy of this plan, UK seems to be out of the picture.
Leaders’ thoughts at Bratislava doorstep
“We need to use those months to make sure we implement things, we are not good at that,” said the Dutch PM Mark Rutte, suggesting that the EU informal Summit of the 27 will not decide much today: “It is about agreements of the coming months: how to protect our outside borders effectively, and how to deal with economic migrants.”
Luxembourg’s Xavier Bettel, underlines that the leaders should not just focus on EU Summits, but on everyday life: “We here have to show that we are able to discuss, to find solutions, and to give us a roadmap for the future. If we have an existential crisis, because we just forget that 90 percent of Europe is working.”
Merkel for EU army cooperation: “Juncker showed in his speech that the European Commission has similar plans”
“Protecting Europe’s outside borders will also be discussed, but this will all be decided in the coming months, we can then also take concrete steps. Juncker showed in his speech that the European Commission has similar plans,” said the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, hoping that the EU can still show it is possible to work together and solve problems.
A week after Athens’ EU Mediterranean Summit, French President Francois Hollande tabled his agenda to journalists on the entrance of the informal Summit. That would be security, the ability of EU to show it is a major world power and to provide hope to young people of Europe.
Athens’ Summit organiser, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras suggested that the EU should stop sleepwalking on its own route.