President Juncker attends the 17-18 October 2019 European Council meeting

President Jean-Claude Juncker yesterday attended the European Council meeting, where EU leaders discussed Brexit, only hours after an agreement was reached at negotiator level on the Withdrawal Agreement. This agreement included a revised Protocol on Ireland / Northern Ireland and a revised Political Declaration on the framework of the future EU-UK relationship. President Juncker held a press conference with President of the European Council Donald Tusk, Ireland’s Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier. President Juncker said: “What we have agreed on is much more than a deal, it is a legal text, which provides legal certainty to the problems created by Brexit. The text we agreed on protects the rights of our citizens and it protects peace and stability on the island of Ireland. Fundamentally, today’s deal is about people and peace.” Leaders then discussed relations with Turkey and the perspectives of EU enlargement. Conclusions can be found here and here. Today, leaders discussed the EU’s next long-term budget and climate change. President-elect Ursula von der Leyen, who had been invited to attend the European Council meeting, presented the priorities of the new Commission. President Juncker held today a joint press conference with President Tusk during which he said: “It is an historical error not to open accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania […] On the next EU long-term budget, I reminded leaders that they have to conclude this debate quickly. If we wait until the end of next year, we will lose two more years during which researchers will not be able to do their work and students will not be able to go on Erasmus.” The press conference can be followed here. Today’s conclusions can be found here.