Remarks by President Donald Tusk after the European Council meetings on 17 and 18 October 2018

Good afternoon, let me start with Brexit. Yesterday, after listening to Prime Minister May’s assessment of the state of the negotiations, the EU27 confirmed that we want to continue the talks in a positive spirit. Leaders expressed their full trust in Michel Barnier, and asked our negotiator to continue efforts to achieve an agreement. I stand ready to convene a European Council on Brexit, if and when the EU negotiator reports that decisive progress has been made. And we should be clear that, as for now, not enough progress has been made.

As there is a lot of speculation about the length of the transition period once the UK leaves the EU, let me say this. The issue of the length of the transition period was not discussed among the EU27 leaders yesterday. But let me recall that in her Florence speech in September 2017, Prime Minister May proposed a transition period of around 2 years. And the EU accepted this proposal unanimously. Therefore, if the UK decided that an extension of the transition period would be helpful to reach a deal, I am sure that the leaders would be ready to consider it positively.

Today we also discussed migration, and reconfirmed our objective to stop the flow of illegal migration. We noted in particular the need to closely watch the situation in the Western Mediterranean, and in this context, to strengthen our cooperation with Morocco, as recommended by Prime Minister Sanchez.

Following our discussion in Salzburg, we also agreed conclusions on strengthening our internal security. Let me mention one issue specifically. In light of the recent hostile cyber-attack carried out against the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, the European Council calls for measures to combat illegal cyber activities. In this context, we ask ministers to work on a sanctions regime that will be specific to cyber attacks. Such a regime should help to protect our citizens, companies and institutions from all kinds of cyber security threats.

Finally, on today’s Euro Summit. The aim was to assess the state of play of the EMU reform, and to keep up the momentum for change. We agreed that we need to accelerate the technical work. We want to get an agreement on the banking union and the ESM in December. I hope our discussion today will inspire the Euro group to act more dynamically. Thank you.