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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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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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.

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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.

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Pre-summit Briefing 2018/7

25 November: Brexit

There will be three meetings involving the EU’s heads of state and government on Sunday: an exchange of views with the president of the European Parliament, a meeting of the European Council in article 50 formation, and a session of the European Council in its normal formation, with Mrs May present.

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Pre-summit Briefing 2018/6

17-18 October: Brexit, Migration, Internal Security and the Euro

This time, Brexit really is the main story. There will be no formal negotiations, needless to say. Mrs May has been invited to explain her position. She will not however be present at the working dinner on 17 October, at which the heads of state and government will discuss Brexit.

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Pre-summit Briefing 2018/5

19-20 September: Migration, Internal Security and Brexit

If the British media are to be believed, the informal European Council in Salzburg this week will be all about Brexit and if some representatives of the Austrian government are right, it will be run by the Austrian Presidency. Fortunately, neither claim is correct.

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