European Council Briefing Note 2017/8

November 2017: a trial run for the Leaders’ Agenda 

This is a very short note indeed, which will be best read as a postscript to the longish note on the October European Council, which is being circulated at the same time. The October Council adopted the Leaders’ Agenda. The November meeting gave it its first trial run.

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European Council Briefing Note 2017/7

October 2017: the Leaders’ Agenda

The European Council on 19-20 October had a crowded agenda. One item, the Leaders’ Agenda was more important than any of the others however. It remains to be seen how effectively Tusk and his colleagues use the Agenda between now and mid-2019, but in principle at least this innovation appears likely to be comparable in importance to the transformation of the status of the Conclusions which occurred in the early 1980s and which subsequently prompted Jacques Delors to place the latter on a par with articles of the Treaties.

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European Council Briefing Note 2017/6

September 2017: Tallinn and the Leaders’ Agenda 

The working dinner which Donald Tusk presided over in Tallinn on 28 September was unscheduled, informal and conclusion-less.  This note is therefore unusually short. The meeting was not unimportant however. A brief account is therefore appropriate, not just for the sake of completeness, but also because both the debate and Tusk’s very brief comments on it afterwards clarified several aspects of EU27’s ongoing and increasingly lively debate about the Union’s future.

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European Council Briefing Note 2017/5

June 2017: EU27 En Marche
The Bratislava Roadmap, Macron and a little bit of Brexit

EU27 are en marche, not just because of Emmanuel Macron, but also and still more because the EU institutions and the UK’s 27 partners have acquired an impressive momentum since June 2016. Events have played a part as always, but so too has leadership, particularly in and through the European Council.

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Commentary 2017/4

The 2017 British general election and Brexit: is a fresh start possible?

The outcome of the British general election was a surprise and its implications are still far from clear, not least as far as Brexit is concerned. Advocates of a ‘soft Brexit’ hope that the tide has turned in their direction, while the Leavites insist that nothing has changed. The assumption underlying this paper is that a fresh start might be possible, but only if the lessons of twelve mismanaged months are taken to heart by the government’s critics as well as by the government.

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Commentary 2017/3

Dealing with Britain: the European Council of 29 April and its sequel 

Ten days ago, on 29 April, the European Council held a brief, but very important meeting. I do not normally comment in writing so soon after the event and I still intend to assess the April meeting more systematically in a Briefing Note which will cover the first four months of 2017 as a whole. The meeting of 29 April was however so important that it merits a more rapid appraisal than usual.

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Brussels Briefings

Peter Ludlow’s next briefing will be held at the Permanent Representation of Croatia to the EU, Floor 1, Avenue des Arts 50, 1000 Bruxelles on 28 June at 10.30am. If you are a subscriber you are welcome to come to briefings but must first register at celudlow@gmail.com.

Brexit Briefings

The next Brexit Briefing will take place at the Athenaeum Club in London on January 19, 2018. Contact celudlow@gmail.com if you are interested in attending. This is a roundtable meeting with a group of speakers who are well plugged in to the viewpoint of the 27 member states of the EU. The fee is €1500 though there is a discount for clients of EuroComment and our partners Llewellyn Consulting.

Commentary 2017/2

25 March 2017: an anniversary worth celebrating

On 25 March 2017 the leaders of 27 EU member states and of the EU institutions, met in Rome to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Treaties of Rome.  The atmosphere was good. There was levity as well as ceremonial. The Declaration too, which the leaders of both the institutions and the 27 member states signed, struck the right note and was significantly better than the Berlin Declaration of 25 March 2007 on which it was to a certain extent modelled. It was high sounding, but not excessively so, positive but not uncritical about the past, and optimistic but not starry eyed about the future.

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European Council Briefing Note 2016/7

December 2016

Migration, Security, Russia, Ukraine, Syria, Cyprus, the economy and Brexit

As the opening sentence of the synopsis acknowledges, this paper is long overdue. For reasons that are explained in both the synopsis and the introduction and confirmed in the main body of the paper, the fact that it is being circulated on 25 March, the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Treaties of Rome, is however a fortunate coincidence. The Conclusions of the December European Council were relatively modest. It was nevertheless a fitting conclusion to a year which, despite Brexit, Trump, Wilders, Le Pen and sundry other distractions, was a rather encouraging one, both for the EU in general and for the European Council in particular.

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