Pre-summit Briefing 2016/1

18-19 February 2016: The British Problem and Migration Policy

The two latest publications deal with the migration crisis – yet again. The evaluation of the EU/Turkey summit  (2015/11) and the pre-summit briefing for the December Council  (2015/12) where there will also be a dinner discussion about the British demands.

For once the British really are going to be centre stage at a European Council meeting. This is hardly a cause for rejoicing, however, because Cameron’s much trumpeted bid to ‘reform’ the EU, which will be the focus of tomorrow’s meeting, is in reality little more than a clumsy exercise in special pleading.

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Pre-summit Briefing 2015/12

17-18 December 2015

The December European Council, which will begin in the afternoon of 17 December, and should finish before lunch on the following day, has a heavy agenda.

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Pre-summit Briefing 2015/11

29 November 2015: The EU-Turkey Summit

The meeting on 29 November between the European Council and a Turkish delegation led in all probability by its prime minister rather than its president is not by definition a European Council meeting in the normal sense of the term. It is also abnormal because Martin Schulz and Frans Timmermans will be present throughout. It is nevertheless appropriate to include it in this series.

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Pre-summit Briefing 2015/10

12 November 2015:

The Refugee Crisis Yet Again

There will be yet another meeting of the European Council, in Valletta, on Thursday 12 November. It will take place over a working lunch. Four of the EU’s 28 heads of state or government will not be there1 and it will be an informal meeting without any formal Conclusions. It will be a European Council nonetheless and Tusk will make a statement afterwards which may well refer to at least one operational decision.

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Pre-summit Briefing 2015/9

15 October 2015

The Refugee Crisis, The British Question, EMU and Climate Change

Donald Tusk is convinced that the European Council should and can finish its work in the afternoon and evening of 15 October. The heads of state and government will meet Martin Schulz at 16.00 and after the ‘family photo’ has been taken, they will begin their first working session at about 17.00. This will last two to three hours and there will be a further three or even four hours of discussion over dinner.

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Pre-summit Briefing 2015/8

23 September 2015

The Refugee Crisis

When Angela Merkel and her Austrian counterpart, Walter Faymann, telephoned Donald Tusk on 15 September and urged him to convene a special meeting of the European Council to discuss the refugee crisis, the European Council president reserved his position. He understood why the two chancellors wanted one. He was nevertheless aware that several members of the European Council were unlikely to share their enthusiasm and that there were also strong practical arguments against proceeding too fast.

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Pre-summit Briefing 2015/7

12 July 2015

Greece: the end of the affair?

This is a pre-summit briefing about two summits which may never take place. When Donald Tusk told his colleagues towards the end of their 7 July summit that he intended to convene both the European Council and the Euro Summit on 12 July, he said that if the finance ministers dealt successfully with the main issues on their agenda at the Euro Group meeting on 11 July, he did not think that it would be necessary for the heads of state or government to come to Brussels on the following day.

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Pre-summit Briefing 2015/6

The Euro Summit of 7 July 2015

This will be the second Euro Summit in just over two weeks. Its character and purpose are radically different from those of the meeting on 22 June however.

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Pre-summit Briefing 2015/5

25/26 June 2015: Migration, European Security, EMU, Digital Europe, the UK and possibly Greece

The draft Conclusions of the meeting of the European Council on 25/26 June are dominated by Migration. So too is the Presidency’s draft agenda, which assumes that the heads of state and government will spend the whole of the first working session on it and most of the working dinner as well.

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Pre-summit Briefing 2015/4

The Euro Summit of June 22 2015: the end game?

Donald Tusk has maintained from the beginning of the Syriza phase of the Greek crisis that the latter is not Chefsache and that it is for the finance ministers and the representatives of the creditors to arrive at an agreement. Paradoxical though it may seem, this is still his belief today, despite his decision to convene a special Euro Summit on 22 June.

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