Climate and future issues at EU summit

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Climate change, the long-term EU budget and the EU’s strategic agenda for the coming institutional cycle were on the agenda when Stefan Löfven and other heads of state or government from EU Member States met in Brussels on 20–21 June. The EU leaders also discussed the EU’s external relations and appointments to several top positions in the EU.

PM Stefan Löfven
- Even though we did not achieve complete consensus yesterday, it is important to remember that just a few months ago only a few countries supported the goal of climate neutrality by 2050. Now 24 out of 28 countries do. So we’re moving in the right direction and we will continue to push the issue,” said Mr Löfven after the EU Summit of June 20-21. Photo: EU Representation of Sweden

- I am pleased we pushed through many Swedish priorities regarding issues the EU should focus on in the next five years. This includes decent jobs, an ambitious climate policy, and a well-functioning migration policy, said Prime Minister Stefan Löfven after the first day ended.

The EU’s climate strategy

Ahead of the United Nations Secretary-General’s Climate Action Summit in September, the heads of state or government discussed the EU’s long-term climate strategy. The discussion focused on the targets the EU should set. At the summit, the EU leaders agreed on raising climate ambitions and retaining the target of a rise in temperature of 1.5 degrees Celsius, consistent with the Paris Agreement. Most EU countries also supported the target of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.

- I also note that more and more EU countries are taking climate change seriously. Even though we did not achieve complete consensus yesterday, it is important to remember that just a few months ago only a few countries supported the goal of climate neutrality by 2050. Now 24 out of 28 countries do. So we’re moving in the right direction and we will continue to push the issue, said Mr Löfven.

The EU’s strategic agenda for 2019–2024

The heads of state or government adopted a strategic agenda for 2019–2024, for the new European Commission that takes office in a few months’ time.

The strategic agenda focuses on four main priorities for the EU in the coming institutional cycle:

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

The long-term EU budget

Discussions on the long-term EU budget have been under way at several levels since the second half of last year. The heads of state or government discussed how the process should continue.

External relations

As usual, the EU leaders addressed the situation outside the EU, including relations between Turkey and Cyprus, the situation in Russia and relations with Ukraine. Disinformation and hybrid threats were also on the agenda. The EU leaders decided to extend the sanctions against Russia for an additional six months.

Top positions in the EU

The final point discussed by the EU leaders on Thursday was the allocation of the top positions in the EU.

- We will discuss candidates for the top positions this week and meet again on 30 June, said Mr Löfven.

The first positions to be filled are: President of the European Commission, President of the European Council and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. Later in the year, the head of the European Central Bank will be appointed. The European Parliament will appoint its President, most likely on 2 July.

The European Council will propose a new President of the European Commission, taking account of the election results. The new President must then be approved by the European Parliament. The European Council appoints its own President.

Euro Summit

On Friday, a Euro Summit took place in an extended format that also included countries outside the euro area. The heads of state or government discussed the euro area budget, reforms of the European Stability Mechanism and the banking union.

More about the meetings in the European Council June 20-21 and June 30