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.

Direct Download

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.

Direct Download

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.

Direct Download

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.

Direct Download

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.

Direct Download

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.

Direct Download

Pre-summit Briefing 2019/1

21-22 March: Economic Policy, Climate Change, China and Brexit

As the draft Conclusions confirm, the March European Council has a heavy and important agenda, including an unusually interesting and wide-ranging discussion of economic policy, which, if the draft Conclusions are anything to go by, will not touch on EMU, a short but significant review of where matters now stand on Climate Change and an ambitious and consequential debate about the EU’s relations with China in advance of the EU-China Summit in April. These, it might be said, are the real world issues which the heads of state and government ought to be talking about. Not Brexit.

Direct Download

European Council Briefing Note 2018/6/7/8

October, November and December: Brexit centre stage at last

The present note is a narrative in the proper sense of the term: an attempt to give meaning to a process by describing and analysing step by step what actually happened. Based on a significant number of unpublished documents as well as interviews, it is a complex but fascinating story, which is best read in its entirety. Readers who are short of time can however begin here with a highly compressed version of the final section of the paper.

Direct Download

Pre-summit Briefing 2018/8

13-14 December: Everything in order except Brexit

The preparations for this week’s meetings of heads of state and government have for the most part been orderly, unexciting and productive. As it is required to do under article 3 (1) of the European Council’s Rules of Procedure, the Presidency issued an ‘annotated draft agenda’ for the meeting of the European Council in its normal formation as long ago as 5 November, together with a roadmap indicating the dates on which national delegations could expect further documents.

Direct Download

European Council Briefing Note 2018/4

June 28-29: Migration Policy, Security and Defence, Economic Policy, Brexit and the Future of the Euro 

There were three meetings rather than one: a meeting of the European Council in its normal formation on 28 June, which went on until almost 5.00 am on the following day, a Brexit breakfast at which Mrs May was not present and a Euro Summit.

Direct Download