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Brexit and the long-term budget at the EU Summit

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Discussions about Brexit and the long-term EU budget for the period 2021–2027 dominated the European Council on 13–14 December. Prime Minister Stefan Löfven and other heads of state and government adopted a number of conclusions on migration, disinformation, climate change and internal market cooperation. The Council ended with a discussion of EMU cooperation.

Photo: Sweden's Permanent Representation to the EU

Brexit

The United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the EU once again dominated the EU leaders’ agenda. At their meeting, they discussed how the EU would move forward and support the UK without opening the withdrawal agreement for renegotiation.

The heads of state and government confirmed the conclusions on the withdrawal agreement and the political declaration from the Summit on 25 November. They stressed that the EU supports the agreement and that it is not open for renegotiation. At the same time, EU leaders underscored that the backstop solution for Ireland is an insurance policy that is not intended to be used. Instead, the intention is to quickly negotiate alternative solutions in the future relationship between the EU and the UK.

Long-term EU budget

The Austrian Presidency gave a status update of the ongoing negotiations on the long-term EU budget for 2021–2027. The heads of state and government were given the opportunity to present their views concerning when the negotiations should be completed and what the priorities should be.

Conclusions on the internal market and migration

At the Summit, the heads of state and government adopted conclusions stating that the internal market needs to be developed and needs to address issues such as digitalisation and artificial intelligence.

The heads of state and government discussed the conclusions on migration and concluded that the ongoing work should be continued.

Foreign affairs and disinformation

EU leaders take a very serious view of the situation in the Kerch Strait and the Sea of Azov, as well as the violations of international law committed by Russia. They call for the immediate release of the imprisoned Ukrainian sailors.

The heads of state and government agreed to extend the sanctions against Russia.

The heads of state and government also made preparations for the Summit between the EU and the Arab League on 24–25 February 2019.

EU leaders noted that the spread of widescale and systematic disinformation is a threat to our democratic systems. They believe that disinformation must be countered swiftly and effectively, and that public authorities and other actors must coordinate their efforts.

Climate change

The heads of state and government urged the Council of Ministers to continue working on the European Commission’s proposal on a long-term climate strategy for the EU. Within the next six months, the European Council will provide overarching guidance on priorities so that the EU can present a long-term climate strategy in line with the Paris Agreement by 2020.

Euro Summit

Prime Minister Stefan Löfven also took part in the Euro Summit, a meeting of euro area countries, to which the other EU countries are also invited. EU leaders adopted conclusions on the deepening of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) and gave a mandate to the finance ministers to continue work on a budget instrument for the euro area.

More about the European Council on 13-14 December