EU leaders gather for busy spring summit

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EU leaders gather for busy spring summit

The European Council of Heads of State or Government, as the ‘EU summit’ is officially called, meets in Brussels for its traditional two-day spring consultation. The Council follows shortly after a special migration summit in early February, but the 27 leaders nevertheless have plenty to discuss.

The European Council of Heads of State or Government, as the ‘EU summit’ is officially called, meets in Brussels for its traditional two-day spring consultation. The Council follows shortly after a special migration summit in early February, but the 27 leaders nevertheless have plenty to discuss. (ANP / AFP)

The summit starts at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday. Ukraine is once again high on the agenda, and President Volodimir Zelensky will report by video link. In February he personally came to Brussels. The EU will once again emphatically reiterate its support for the war-ravaged country with Russia and endorse the foreign ministers’ decision to deliver additional ammunition as soon as possible.

According to EU correspondent Stefan de Vries, the summit is mainly a continuation of the migration summit. “After all, the leaders met only last month, and it is still about the response of Europeans to the Russian aggression, and in particular about the accountability of the perpetrators.”

De Vries also thinks that, in addition to expressing support, there will be an emphasis on increasing pressure on Russia and that the use of Russia’s frozen assets for the reconstruction of Ukraine will be discussed.

China

In addition, there is also a lot of talk about China, because the situation seems to be quite chafing, according to De Vries. Also in the European Commission, where President Ursula von der Leyen, for example, supports the tough American approach to China, while President Charles Michel of the European Council actually wants to avoid confrontation. And that after Chinese President Xi Jinping made it clear that he wanted to distance himself from the West on a visit to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

De Vries understands that friction. ‘The European Commission naturally acts on behalf of the whole of Europe, while the European Council speaks on behalf of all heads of government,’ he says. ‘And there is no consensus on how the EU should approach China. But there will still have to be an answer.’

United Nations

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres will join the talks on “major geopolitical issues,” Council President Charles Michel told the leaders in his letter of invitation.

The intended reform of the electricity market is also discussed, as is migration. According to insiders, the Netherlands is very pleased with the speed the European Commission is making in developing measures to ‘step by step’ reduce the arrival of migrants.


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