Pre-summit Briefing 2019/7

October 17 and 18: the MFF, the Strategic Agenda, Climate Change, Turkey and Syria, Enlargement and Brexit

The October European Council, which is one of the four set-pieces per annum provided for in the Treaty, has often been important. This year, however, it is likely to be unusually important. The agenda is lengthy and heavy and, despite the preparatory work which has been done by ministers and officials as well as the Commission under every heading, the contribution by the heads of state or government will be of decisive significance.

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European Council Briefing Note 2019/6

 June Part 2: the top jobs

The present paper resumes our analysis of the process by which the European Council selected the new leaders of the European Union. It begins on 29 May, the day after the special meeting at which the heads of state and government assessed the implications of the European parliamentary elections, and finishes on 2 July, when they agreed on a package deal comprising the president and two executive vice presidents of the Commission, the president of the European Council, the EU’s foreign policy chief, the president of the ECB and the president of the Parliament.

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European Council Briefing Note 2019/5

June Part 1: the Strategic Agenda, the MFF, Climate Change, External Relations, the Euro and Brexit

The EU’s heads of state and government spent a lot of time together between 20 June and 2 July. Much of the time was however spent on meetings of the political and regional groups, mini-summits, some of them with Tusk and some of them without, a whole night of ‘confessionals’ with Tusk, starting at 23.45 on 30 June and finishing at after 7.00 on the following morning, and bilaterals involving all and sundry.

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Pre-summit Briefing 2019/6

June 30: the top jobs once again

This Pre-Summit Briefing will be short. For obvious reasons. There was a total news blackout at both the previous meetings concerned with the top jobs, the special meeting on 28 May and the working dinner on 20 June, and communications since then from those who are in a position to know where matters stand, as distinct from the very large number of people who claim to know, have been extremely guarded. Even Parliament has been restrained. Which is remarkable.

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Pre-summit Briefing 2019/5

June: the top jobs, the strategic agenda, climate change, foreign policy, the euro and Brexit

There will be two meetings of the heads of state or government on 20 and 21 June. The first, on 20 June, will be a meeting of the European Council proper, while the second, on the morning of 21 June, will be a Euro Summit in inclusive formation. Mrs May will attend the European Council, but not the Euro Summit. Which means that Tusk can, and almost certainly will make room for a brief discussion of Brexit at the end of the Euro Summit.

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European Council Briefing Note 2019/4

28 May: The top jobs

The informal meeting of heads of state or government on 28 May did not discuss the names of any potential candidates for the EU’s top jobs. The Presidency also went to considerable lengths to ensure that nobody outside the room knew what was happening while the leaders were meeting and was sparing with information about it afterwards. The working dinner was nevertheless a significant moment in the appointments process, which provided important clues to its future direction. Seven points are worth highlighting.

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European Council Briefing Note 2019/3

Sibiu: The European Council positions itself in advance of the European parliamentary elections

The Sibiu meeting on 9 May received relatively little attention from the media. There were useful reports in a few quality newspapers, including the FAZ, Le Figaro and the FT. Even they were short and low key, however. Elsewhere it was mentioned only a little if at all.

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Pre-summit Briefing 2019/4

28 May: Taking account of the European parliamentary elections

The proposal to convene a special meeting of the European Council on 28 May was announced by Tusk at the informal gathering of EU27 heads of state and government in Sibiu on 9 May. In order to understand how the president will approach tomorrow evening’s meeting it is therefore important to recall what he said in Romania.

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Pre-summit Briefing 2019/3

9 May: Sibiu

The informal meeting of EU27’s leaders in Sibiu on 9 May is likely to be more interesting and relevant than the dreamy and aimless public debate which has preceded it. The idea of a special meeting dedicated to the Future of Europe during the Romanian Presidency was first floated by the Commission, whose president suggested that it should take place on or immediately after Brexit Day on 29 March. It was gesture politics of the kind which the self-styled Last Chance Commission has indulged in too frequently for comfort since 2014 and was rapidly dismissed as over the top.

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Pre-summit Briefing 2019/2

10 April: Brexit round 12

Tomorrow’s special session of the European Council in article 50 formation will be the twelfth of its kind. Which says an awful lot about both the process and the mood in which those who attend the meeting will approach their task. It has been a protracted and inglorious story in which EU27 have been confronted again and again by the British government’s inability to pursue let alone conclude a consistent course.

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