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European Council: Main results

EU News 48/2017

European Council

The EU leaders looked at a number of the most pressing issues, including economy, security, migration and the situation in Western Balkans.

On Friday, the 27 leaders met informally to discuss preparations for the 60th anniversary of the Rome Treaties.

The leaders welcomed the positive vote in the European Parliament on the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) and looked forward to its imminent provisional application.

"The EU remains strongly committed to a robust trade policy and an open and rules-based multilateral trading system, with a central role for the World Trade Organisation (WTO)," the leaders concluded.

At the same time, they called for the quick adoption of legislative proposals that would equip the EU with WTO-compatible tools to tackle unfair trade practices and market distortions.

The leaders also confirmed that the EU will resolutely advance on all ongoing negotiations for free trade agreements, including with Mercosur and Mexico; negotiations with Japan being closest to conclusion.

Trade relations with China should be strengthened on the basis of a shared understanding of reciprocal and mutual benefits.

Security and defence
The heads of state or government assessed the implementation of its December 2016 conclusions on external security and defence. Leaders welcomed the progress achieved, as outlined at the Foreign Affairs Council meeting on 6 March, and called on for additional action and resources. They recalled the importance of implementing the proposals set out in the joint declaration for enhanced cooperation with NATO.

EU leaders also discussed internal security and the fight against terrorism. They called on co-legislators to:

- agree on the proposal for an entry-exit system by June 2017

- speed up work on the proposal for the European travel information and authorisation system (ETIAS)

Informal meeting
On Friday 10 March the 27 leaders met informally to prepare for the 60th anniversary of the Rome Treaties and discussed the main elements of the Rome Declaration.

The debate focused on the EU future, including the idea of a multi-speed Europe.

"Some expect systemic changes that would loosen intra-EU ties and strengthen the role of nations in relation to the community. Others, quite the opposite, are looking for new, deeper dimensions of integration," said President Tusk, summing up the discussions.

He highlighted that, considering the interests of the community of 27 countries in the context of the upcoming Brexit negotiations and the long-term strategic interests of the EU, he would be urging everyone to strive towards maintaining political unity among the 27.

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