Delegation of the European Union to Russia

European Council meeting, 20–21 June: main results

24/06/2019 - 12:09

The EU heads of state or government met in Brussels for a 2-day European Council meeting. On 20 June, they focused on the EU's strategic agenda for 2019-2024, nominations for EU's top jobs, climate change, disinformation and hybrid threads, the long-term EU budget, and external relations. On Friday 21 June, they continued with Brexit and the euro area. Below are key highlights of the discussions.

On the appointments for the EU's top jobs, they decided to continue their talks at another meeting on 30 June 2019.


The European Council agreed on an agenda for the EU for the next five years. 'A new strategic agenda 2019-2024' sets out the priority areas that will steer the work of the European Council and provide guidance for the work programmes of other EU institutions.


The strategic agenda focuses on four main priorities:

  • protecting citizens and freedoms;
  • developing a strong and vibrant economic base;
  • building a climate-neutral, green, fair and social Europe;
  • promoting European interests and values on the global stage.

It also sets out how to achieve those objectives.


On the climate change, EU leaders emphasised the importance of stepping up global climate action to achieve the Paris agreement objectives ahead of the United Nations Secretary General's Climate Action Summit in September.


Under the external relations, the leaders discussed, among other things, latest developments and the situation in eastern Ukraine and the Azov Sea. In this context, the conclusions adopted by the European Council states the following:


"The European Council reiterates its call on Russia to release the captured Ukrainian sailors unconditionally, return the seized vessels and ensure free passage of all ships through the Kerch Straits, in accordance with international law.


The European Council expresses its utmost concern about the Russian presidential decree of 24 April, enabling the simplified issuing of passports in certain areas of Ukraine's Donetsk and Luhansk regions, which runs counter to the spirit and the objectives of the Minsk agreements.


The European Council will continue to monitor the situation in eastern Ukraine and stands ready to consider further options, including non-recognition of Russian passports issued in contradiction to the Minsk agreements, in close coordination with its international partners. The European Council calls for an urgent resumption of negotiating efforts with a view to the implementation of the Minsk agreements and for measures aimed at rebuilding confidence among the parties.


17 July will mark five years since the downing of flight MH17, which claimed 298 lives. The European Council reiterates its full support for all efforts to establish truth, justice and accountability for the victims and their next of kin, in accordance with UNSC Resolution 2166. In this context, it welcomes the announcement by the Joint Investigation Team on 19 June 2019 that criminal charges will be brought in the Netherlands against four individuals, calls on Russia to cooperate fully with the ongoing investigation, and expresses its full confidence in the independence and professionalism of the legal procedures that lie ahead."


On top, Chancellor Merkel and President Macron briefed the leaders on the overall implementation of the Minsk agreements and the negotiations in the Normandy format. EU leaders unanimously agreed to roll over the economic sanctions on Russia for another 6 months.


On the disinformation and hybrid threats, the European Council called for sustained efforts to raise awareness, increase preparedness and strengthen the EU's resilience to disinformation. The leaders also called for new measures to boost the EU's resilience against cyber and hybrid threats from outside the EU.


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