Remarks by President Donald Tusk after the Salzburg informal summit | EU Council Press

Let me start by thanking the beautiful city of Salzburg, the Austrian EU Presidency and you personally, Sebastian, for hosting this remarkable summit. It is a truly impressive; the hospitality, the logistics, and it is not an empty compliment. It is one of the best political performances I ever experienced. Congratulations.

As you mentioned, we have discussed migration, internal security and Brexit here in Salzburg.

The migration debate showed that we may not agree on everything but we agree on the main goal, which is stemming illegal migration to Europe. There was a constructive debate and good atmosphere and we decided to continue our focus on what unites us and what has already brought results. This means strengthening our external borders as well as strengthening cooperation with third countries. Such cooperation should not be just on migration or fighting smugglers and traffickers. It should be about a much broader vision of partnership.

Together with Chancellor Kurz we have started a dialogue with the Egyptian President and now we can say that there is a backing from the European Council for this and similar dialogues. I will meet President Al Sisi on Sunday to take this forward. And we will be reaching out to other African partners in the coming weeks, with Chancellor Kurz, the Commission and also with a group of member states. In this context we also agreed to organise a summit with the League of Arab States in February next year, in Egypt.

On internal security we agreed priorities for immediate actions. That’s why there is a shared determination to take forward the Commission’s proposal for a strengthened European Border and Coast Guard as a priority. At the same time, as the Chancellor underlined, it is also clear that there are issues regarding sovereignty and the size of Frontex that will have to be further discussed. In addition, we agreed to step up the fight against all forms of cyber crime, manipulations and disinformation.

Fires this summer demonstrated the importance of the European cooperation and it is an example of concrete European solidarity. It is also in this context that we decided to speed up work on the Civil Protection Mechanism.

At our EU27 working lunch today we had a good discussion on Brexit, which once again reconfirmed our full unity. Let me highlight three points.

First, we reconfirmed that there will be no Withdrawal Agreement without a solid, operational and legally binding Irish backstop. And we continue to fully support Michel Barnier in his efforts to find such a model.

Second, we agreed to have a joint political declaration that provides as much clarity as possible on the future relations. Everybody shared the view that while there are positive elements in the Chequers proposal, the suggested framework for economic cooperation will not work. Not least because it risks undermining the Single Market.

Third, we also discussed the timetable for further negotiations. The moment of truth for Brexit negotiations will be the October European Council. In October we expect maximum progress and results in the Brexit talks. Then we will decide whether conditions are there to call an extraordinary summit in November to finalise and formalise the deal.

Thank you.

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President Juncker at the Informal Leaders’ Meeting in Salzburg | EU Commission Press

State of the Union proposals: A significant contribution to advance on Migration and Internal Security for a Europe that protects

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker participated to the informal meeting of EU heads of state or government which took place yesterday and today in Salzburg, Austria. EU leaders discussed internal security, migration and Brexit.

The Summit is part of the Leaders’ Agenda which is a concrete work programme that seeks to unblock and find solutions to the main political challenges and priorities of the European Union.

President Juncker’s State of the Union proposals, which formed the basis of discussions, represent a significant contribution to advance on migration and internal security for a Europe that protects. The Commission’s proposals received broad backing by EU leaders.

Last night, leaders met for an informal working dinner with migration as the main topic. They discussed latest developments and assessed progress achieved to reduce irregular arrivals and to cooperate with third countries. Discussions were based on the Commission’s proposals for a fully equipped European Border and Coast Guard, a reinforced Asylum Agency, a stronger and more effective European return policy and enhancing legal pathways to Europe.

Today as regards internal security, heads of state or government took stock of progress achieved to upgrade police and judicial cooperation, strengthen border security and enhance resilience in cyberspace. In particular, leaders discussed how to step up the fight against people smugglers and trafficking networks.

On Brexit, leaders reviewed progress in the Art. 50 talks with the UK and discussed the way forward in the presence of EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier. Leaders of the EU-27 focused on the future EU-UK partnership, how to organise the final phase of the talks and also the need for a legally operational backstop on Ireland.

State of the Union 2018

Informal Leaders’ Meeting in Salzburg – Photo report

Boosting Multilateralism: President Juncker and a high-level EU delegation at the 73rd United Nations General Assembly Ministerial week | EU Commission Press

President Jean-Claude Juncker will be in New York next week for the 73rd United Nations General Assembly, with a high-level delegation from the European Union. EU representatives will host and participate in a large number of events and meet with world leaders, underlining the European Union’s steadfast commitment to a strong and effective United Nations, and building support for multilateralism and a rules-based global order.

As President Juncker said in his 2018 State of the Union Speech on 12 September: “Europe will never be a fortress, turning its back on the world or those suffering within it. Europe is not an island. It must and will champion multilateralism. The world we live in belongs to all and not a select few.” President Juncker and High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini will kick-off the week on Sunday 23 September, with a bilateral meeting with UN Secretary General António Guterres, reconfirming the strategic EU-UN partnership. Together, they will also meet with African Union (AU) Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat to discuss how to take forward the work of the innovative EU-UN-AU trilateral cooperation. On Monday 24 September, President Juncker will address the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit –a high-level meeting on global peace in honour of the centenary of the birth of Nelson Mandela. On Tuesday 25 September President Juncker, First Vice-President Frans Timmermans and HR/VP Mogherini will join the President of the European Council Donald Tusk for the opening of the 73rd General Assembly. President Juncker will also have a series of bilateral meetings, including with Mr Uhuru Kenyatta, President of Kenya; Mr Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda and Chairperson of the African Union, and Mr Mamuka Bakhtadze, Prime Minister of Georgia. The EU will be hosting a number of flagship events in the margins of the General Assembly, and EU representatives will have a full agenda of high-level debates and side events, as well as numerous bilateral meetings. For more details on the agenda, see the full press release here. Press and audio-visual material will be available on EbS, EEASEuropa and Consilium websites. For more information on EU–UN relations, see the factsheet here.

One year on: EU-Canada trade agreement delivers positive results | EU Commission Press

Friday 21 September will mark the first anniversary of the provisional entry into force of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between the EU and Canada.

Early signs show that the agreement is already starting to deliver for EU exporters. Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström said: “The EU-Canada trade agreement has now been in action for a year and I’m pleased with the progress made so far. The preliminary data shows there is plenty to celebrate, even at this stage. Exports are up overall and many sectors have seen impressive increases. Our partnership with Canada is stronger than ever – strategically as well as economically. Together, we are standing up for an open and rules-based international trading order. CETA is a clear demonstration of that.” The latest statistics available, covering the October 2017 to June 2018 period, suggest that exports are up by over 7% year on year. EU exports benefiting the most include machinery, mechanical appliances and footwear that are up by over 8%; pharmaceuticals and furniture that are up by 10%, as well as cosmetics and clothing that are up by 11%. In terms of agri-food products, exports of fruit and nuts increased by 29%, chocolate by 34%, sparkling wine by 11% and whisky by 5%.Commissioner Malmström will visit Canada on 26 and 27 September to take stock of progress. Examples of companies that are already benefitting from CETA in various ways are available here. For more information see the full press release and a dedicated CETA website.

U.S. is now the EU’s main supplier of soya beans with a share of 52% | EU Commission Press

Today the European Commission has published the latest figures on EU imports of soya beans, showing that the U.S. has become Europe’s main supplier of this commodity, reaching a 52% share compared to 25% in in the same period last year.

Presidents Juncker and Trump issued a EU-U.S. Joint Statement following a meeting in Washington on 25 July, in which the two sides agreed to increase trade in several areas and products, notably soya beans. To monitor the evolution of trade in soya beans, President Juncker put in place a reporting mechanism according to which imports from the United States increased by 133% compared to the same period in the previous year (July-mid-September 2017). Commissioner for Agriculture, Phil Hogan, said: “I welcome the latest trade figures which show that we are delivering on the commitment made by Presidents Juncker and Trump to increase trade, particularly in relation to soya beans. This reflects both our longstanding trade relationship and the potential to achieve so much more by working together to build on that relationship.”The EU currently imports about 14 million tonnes of soya beans per year as a source of protein to feed our animals, including chicken, pigs and cattle, as well as for milk production. Soya beans from the US happen to be a very attractive feed option for European importers and users thanks to their competitive prices. A press release is available online.

Commissioner Jourová met with tech companies to push for full compliance with EU consumer rules | EU Commission Press

Commissioner Jourová and national consumer authorities met with Airbnb and Facebook to take stock of the progress made on two ongoing consumer enforcement actions. Following the call from the European Commission and EU consumer authorities in July, Airbnb has now committed to making the necessary changes to their terms and conditions and improving the presentation of their prices.

The company has until the end of 2018 to make these changes on all EU language versions of their website. Věra Jourová, European Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, said: “The online players have revolutionised the way we travel, find accommodation and experience our holidays. But they also need to fully comply with the rules and take responsibility when things go bad. But EU consumers enjoy rights both off-line and online. I welcome Airbnb’s willingness to do the necessary changes to ensure full transparency and understanding of what consumers pay for. This action is part of a larger push for stronger protection of consumers online. That’s why we proposed reinforced consumer rules under the ‘New Deal for Consumers’ a few months ago.” Regarding Facebook, there was very limited progress in the framework of the ongoing enforcement action. Facebook’s new terms of services from April contain a misleading presentation of the main characteristics of Facebook’s services.  In particular, Facebook now tells consumers that their data and content is used only to improve their overall “experience” and does not mention that the company uses these data for commercial purposes. Commissioner Jourová said: “My patience has reached its limit. While Facebook assured me to finally adapt any remaining misleading terms of services by December, this has been ongoing for too long. It is now time for action and no more promises. If the changes are not fully implemented by the end of the year, I call on consumer authorities to act swiftly and sanction the company.” A full press release on the Airbnb action is available online. Commissioner Jourová gave a press point on these topics this morning, which can be watched here.

College meeting: EU steps up its strategy for connecting Europe and Asia | EU Commission Press

The European Commission and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy today adopted aJoint Communication that sets out the EU’s vision for a new and comprehensive strategy to better connect Europe and Asia.

The Joint Communication builds on the European Union’s own experience of enhancing connections between its Member States, with and in other regions. With sustainable, comprehensive and rules-based connectivity at its core, the Communication will help to guide the EU’s external action in this field and is a part of the implementation of its Global Strategy. The EU will combine a principled approach to connectivity and recognition that Asia encompasses different regions, which are home to very diverse countries in terms of economic models and level of development, with concrete action based on three strands: creating transport links, energy and digital networks and human connections; offering connectivity partnerships to countries in Asia and organisations; and promoting sustainable finance through utilising diverse financial tools. The aim is to better connect Europe and Asia through physical and non-physical networks so as to strengthen the resilience of societies and regions, facilitate trade, promote the rules-based international order, and create avenues for a more sustainable, low-carbon future. This Joint Communication will inform the EU’s engagement with its partners from the neighbourhood to the Pacific, bringing benefits for the people of Europe and those countries who see the value of our approach to connectivity. The Joint Communication adopted today will now be discussed in the European Parliament and the Council, and will contribute to discussions on connectivity at the upcoming Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Summit, to be held in Brussels on 18-19 October. A full press release, including statements of High Representative/Vice-President, Federica Mogherini, Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, and Commissioners Neven Mimica and Violeta Bulc is available online, as are a memo explaining the EU’s approach to connecting Europe and Asia, a factsheet on the strategy, and theJoint Communication itself.

INVITATION | How can cybersecurity certification schemes enhance Europe’s security and competitiveness? (September 25)

We are most pleased to invite you to participate in an evening of discussion on how cybersecurity certification schemes can enhance Europe’s security and competitiveness with our distinguished speakers Mr Miguel Gonzalez-Sancho, Head of the Cybersecurity Technology and Capacity Building Unit, DG CONNECT, European Commission, Ms Sara Bussière, Senior Advisor, Orange, Mr Jocelyn Delatre, Policy Officer, Smart Mobility Manager, European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association – ACEA and Mr Sylvain Bouyon, Head of Fintech Programme, CEPS.

The event will be moderated by Magnus Franklin, Director, Teneo cabinet DN and former Chief Correspondent at MLex.

This event is kindly sponsored by

Within the framework of the

About the debate

The question of cybersecurity has emerged as a vital aspect of EU policy due to the fact that in the past few years digital threats have been evolving fast. According to the European Commission 2017 Cybersecurity Factsheet, ransomware attacks have increased by 300% since 2015, while the economic impact of cybercrime rose fivefold from 2013 to 2017, and could further rise by a factor of four by 2019. Cybersecurity has also been intensively in the spotlight due to a series of large-scale cyber-attacks aimed at Europe last year. In fact, the EU’s digital landscape is witnessing a rapid intensification of cybercrimes such as the theft of commercial trade secrets, business information and personal data, as well as disruption of services and infrastructures. At the same time, the rapid development of the Internet of Things is confirming that billions of devices will be evermore connected, and therefore vulnerable to such attacks, over the next decade, making the “security by design” of such devices a fundamental element. Against this background, private companies, including telecom undertakings, and public bodies have strengthened their tools to anticipate and fight against such attacks. Increasing coordination and overall level of security, as well as enhancing trust and confidence of citizens, will be essential to ensure the security and the competitiveness of the EU.

Within this context, and building on the review of the 2013 EU Cybersecurity Strategy, the European Commission published in September 2017, as part of the Cybersecurity package, a proposal for a Cybersecurity Act, which aims at both revising the mandate of ENISA and creating an EU framework for cybersecurity certification. Indeed, according to the EU Digital Single Market strategy, “specific gaps still exist in the fast-moving domain of technologies and solutions for online network security”, whereas market studies have demonstrated that the internal market is still geographically fragmented as far as cybersecurity products and services are concerned. In addition, when it comes to skills and expertise, a lack of coordination and capacity building has been identified, with many stakeholders along the value chain being left to the side.

The EU draft framework for cybersecurity certification is based on some fundamental principles such as the definitions of assurance levels, the level of involvement of the industry in the definition of such schemes, and the voluntary nature of the EU certification. All those elements will be debated between the co-legislators in the months to come. For instance, while Parliament considers that the certification should become mandatory on some aspects for operators of essential services, the Council rather encourages a voluntary cybersecurity certification framework. It is therefore key to understand how cybersecurity certification schemes can enhance Europe’s security and competitiveness.


This event will be held under the Chatham House Rule. Participants are free to use the information received but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the attendees may be revealed. For this reason, unless explicitly authorised by PubAffairs Bruxelles, the filming and/or the recording of the event by any means are strictly forbidden.


The event will commence with a welcome drink at 7h00 pm, followed by a panel debate at 7.30 pm. After the panel debate there will be an opportunity for questions and discussions.

We look forward to seeing you at 7h00 pm on the 25th of September at The Office, rue d’Arlon, 80, Brussels.*

All our debates are followed by a drink in a convivial atmosphere.

General Affairs Council, 18/09/2018 | EU Council Press

Main results

Next multiannual financial framework

The Council held a policy debate on the multiannual financial framework (MFF) for 2021 to 2027.

Ministers set out their priorities for the negotiations, including their views on:

  • how the EU policy priorities and European added value are reflected in the MFF proposal
  • the proposed allocation of funds to different policy areas 

The EU’s multiannual financial framework represents an opportunity to make strategic choices for the future. It is about matching the EU’s budget to our political priorities and bringing added value with EU spending. Our debate today, which focused on these essential questions, will therefore help lay foundations for our future discussions. The Austrian presidency is planning intensive work at technical and political level in order to advance as much as possible and facilitate a future agreement between the member states.

Gernot Blümel, Austrian Federal Minister for the EU, Art, Culture and Media

Legislative programming

Following President Juncker’s speech on the state of the European Union, the Council discussed the Commission’s priorities and intentions for its work programme for 2019. The input from ministers will help the Commission finalise its work programme.

The Council also took stock of the situation regarding pending legislative proposals in view of the end of the EP’s legislative term in 2019.

As we are approaching the European Parliament elections, the Presidency is committed to achieve progress and bring as many files as possible to a conclusion. In addition to our annual exchange on next year’s priorities, ministers therefore took stock of what we currently have on the table.

Gernot Blümel, Austrian Federal Minister for the EU, Art, Culture and Media

October European Council

Ministers began preparations for the October European Council by examining an annotated draft agenda.

At their meeting on 18 October, EU leaders are expected to:

  • return to the issue of migration; there will be a report on progress, as agreed in the June European Council conclusions
  • adopt conclusions on internal security, following the Leaders’ thematic debate in Salzburg
  • in the light of events, address specific foreign policy issues

Rule of law in Poland

The Council held a hearing under Article 7(1) TEU on the rule of law in Poland.

The modalities for the hearing were the same as for the session at the meeting of the General Affairs Council on 26 June 2018.

Ministers continued their in-depth exchange with Poland on the concerns identified in the Commission’s reasoned proposal.

The Council will return to this issue.

Presidency programme 

The Austrian presidency presented its priorities for the duration of its term of office ending on 31 December 2018.

General Affairs Council (Art. 50), 18/09/2018 | EU Council Press

Main results

The Council, in EU27 format, was briefed by the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier on the state of play in the Brexit negotiations following the latest rounds of negotiation with the UK. Ministers had an opportunity to discuss the situation and the way forward.

There are still some important matters that need to be solved. However, we hope that in the next few weeks an agreement can be reached that guarantees an orderly Brexit, including of course an operational backstop for the border between Ireland and North-Ireland. There is still time left to find common ground to agree on a political declaration on future relations, with the UK as a close partner. On all these matters, ministers showed again today that even in these final stages of the negotiations, we remain committed to the unity of the EU 27.

Gernot Blümel, Austrian Federal Minister for the EU, Art, Culture and Media

The withdrawal agreement should be agreed in good time to be ratified by both parties before the withdrawal date of 29 March 2019. Negotiations on the framework for the future relationship should lead to an overall understanding which will be set out in a political declaration accompanying and referred to in the withdrawal agreement.

The Council took note of the agenda for October’s European Council (Article 50) meeting. EU27 ministers will continue the preparations of the October summit in their next meeting on 16 October 2018 in Luxembourg.