Migration and the protection of the EU’s external borders will be at the top of the strategic priorities that the EU-28 are expected to adopt at the first working session at the European Council in Brussels on Thursday and Friday.
According to a Senior EU official that briefed the press ahead of the Summit, the EU’s strategic agenda for the next legislature will include the issue of digital transition, the fight against climate change and the safeguarding of multilateralism in the international environment.
“There is no unanimity, yet, but the overwhelming majority of the Council is in line with the 2050 objective,” added the Senior official.
Similarly, the European External Action Service (EEAS) and the European Commission’s report on disinformation in the May 2019 European elections will also arrive into the hands of the leaders.
In relation to foreign policy, there will be a debate on Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea and the EU’s standing position on non-recognition as well as the bloc’s reaction to indictments connected to the shooting down of MH17 by Russian forces in 2014. The EU is expected to extend existing sanctions against Russia for six months, though Poland would like to see the sanctions extended for a full year.
The Summit will also cover Turkey’s illegal drilling operations in the Cyprus Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and similar wording used by the General Affairs Council will be adopted by the summit leaders.
“The Council will keep an eye on the situation” and “invites the EEAS and the Commission to present appropriate measures without delay,..Cyprus’ President Nicos Anastasiades is expected to brief his counterparts on developments and can rely on the solidarity of the other leaders,” the Senior official added.
With regard to enlargement, the date of the start of accession negotiations will be discussed and the European Council will, according to the draft conclusions, make its decision by October at the latest.