Today leaders discussed how to best prepare the EU for increasing global economic competition. This means strengthening the European single market and industrial base, which is key for job creation. We also agreed on the need for an open and assertive trade policy. In this context, the European Council called to resume the discussion on the public procurement instrument. We want to reinforce European capacity to deal with technology theft and cybersecurity threats, and we look forward to the Commission’s recommendation on the security of 5G networks.
We also discussed the priorities for next month’s summit with China. Our aim is to focus on achieving a balanced relation, which ensures fair competition and equal market access. In this context, we hope to persuade China to include industrial subsidies as a crucial element of the WTO reform.
Additionally, leaders were univocal in their determination to tackle climate change with urgency and ambition. Our ministers will intensify work on the EU’s climate strategy, to implement the goals set down by the Paris Agreement. We will come back to this issue in June.
As regards Brexit, the European Council formalised last night’s decisions by the EU27 and the UK, to delay the cliff-edge and allow for an extension. Personally, I am really happy about this development. As I said yesterday, it means that until the twelfth of April, anything is possible: a deal, a long extension – if the UK decided to re-think its strategy – or revoking Article 50, which is a prerogative of the UK Government. The fate of Brexit is in the hands of our British friends. We are, as EU, prepared for the worst, but hope for the best. As you know, hope dies last. Thank you.