On 25 February, the members of the European Council met via video conference to discuss the current situation of the COVID-19 pandemic and preparedness for health threats. On 26 February they met again, focusing on security and defence, and relations with the Southern Neighbourhood.
EU leaders took stock of the epidemiological situation. They will continue working together and coordinating their action to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic, keep the overall situation under close review and take action as needed.
Leaders agreed on the need to restrict non-essential travel for the time being.
Leaders stressed the need to urgently accelerate the authorisation, production and distribution of vaccines, as well as vaccination. They also highlighted the need to enhance surveillance and detection capacity to identify variants as early as possible so as to control their spread.
Solidarity with third countries
EU leaders reaffirmed their solidarity with third countries and stressed their determination to step up the global response to the pandemic. They welcomed COVAX’s first plans to distribute vaccines to 92 low- and middle-income countries.
Security and defence
European Council members had an exchange of views on EU-NATO relations with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.
EU leaders then held a strategic debate on European security and defence policy. They reaffirmed their commitment to increase the EU's capacity to act autonomously, as well as the need for the EU to take more responsibility for its security.
(updated: 26 February)