Invitation letter by President Charles Michel to the members of the European Council

© European Union, 2020, Source: Council of the EU – Audiovisual resources© European Union, 2020, Source: Council of the EU – Audiovisual resources

I would like to invite you to a special meeting of the European Council in Brussels on 9 and 10 February 2023. We will have three main issues on our agenda: Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, our economy and competitiveness, and our migration policy.

In the follow-up to the EU-Ukraine summit in Kyiv on 3 February, and in the context of Russia’s brutal war, which has lasted almost a full year, we will continue to address all aspects of our unwavering support to Ukraine. I would also like us to discuss in particular Ukraine’s initiative for a just peace, based on full respect for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, the potential use of Russia’s frozen and immobilised assets and accountability.

Since its inception, the European Union has thrived on its single market and openness to trade, guaranteeing prosperity to its citizens and projecting its values globally. Almost seventy years on, this focus has not shifted. As global markets become more competitive, we need to make sure we stay ahead of the curve in the digital and green transition. We want to remain leaders in innovation and in deploying net-zero technologies, for instance, and are determined to foster our strategic sovereignty. Following our discussion in December and building on the Commission’s recent communication, I would like us to  provide further guidance on our short and long term strategy to keep our economies more prosperous and competitive. This entails addressing our regulatory and investment environment and discussing where and how to best provide key funding, while preserving the integrity of the Single Market. Our discussion will set the foundations for further work in this area at our meetings in March and June.

We will also discuss the migration situation. Managing migration is one of our defining common challenges both now and, I believe, in the years to come. Faced with rising numbers of irregular border crossing across most routes, and internal movements within the Union, we need to find a sustainable, responsible and humane solution, together. I propose we focus in particular on the external dimension of migration, strengthening our external action, improving returns and readmissions, better controlling our external borders, and fighting trafficking and smuggling.

As to the practical aspects, our special European Council will start at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday 9 February.

I look forward to seeing you.