European Council discusses migration and external relations

On the first day of its Summit, the European Council welcomed progress across the comprehensive migration strategy that the Commission has put in place, and called for urgent implementation of the work that remains. Speaking about the new migration partnerships with countries of origin and transit, which the Commission proposed in June this year, European Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker, said: “In the last four months we made substantial progress, because we were able to put into place a new working method; we have changed the terms of our dialogue with partner countries, and we have opened new avenues for managing jointly with them migration challenges. We are pursuing this important piece of work.”The European Council also discussed relations with Russia, strongly condemning the attacks by the Syrian regime and its allies, notably Russia, on civilians in Aleppo. The EU is calling for a cease-fire and considering all the options if the atrocities continue.Today, on day two of the Summit, discussions will focus on trade. Intensive talks have continued with a view to securing agreement on the EU’s trade deal with Canada – CETA – so that it can be formally signed at next week’s EU-Canada Summit. Speaking yesterday evening, President Juncker said: “I am insisting that we need this trade arrangement with Canada – it is the best one we have ever concluded. And if we are unable to conclude a trade arrangement with Canada, I do not see how it will be possible to have trade agreements with other parts of the world. […] We were providing the Walloon government with further details, with an interpretation instrument related to the various questions which are covered by this trade agreement – but I am still hopeful that we will come to a good result in the course of tonight and tomorrow morning.”