I. Multiannual financial framework
1. The European Council welcomes the intensive preparatory work carried out during this semester on the future Multiannual Financial Framework and takes note of the Presidency’s progress report. It calls on the incoming Presidency to continue that work and develop an orientation for the next stage of the negotiations, with a view to achieving an agreement in the European Council in autumn 2019.
IV. Other items
7. The European Council discussed preparations for the upcoming summit with the League of Arab States on 24 and 25 February 2019.
8. The European Council expresses its utmost concern regarding the escalation at the Kerch Straits and the Azov Sea and Russia’s violations of international law. It reconfirms its commitment to international law, the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of Ukraine and the EU’s policy of non-recognition of the illegal annexation of Crimea. There is no justification for the use of military force by Russia. The European Council requests the immediate release of all detained Ukrainian seamen as well as the return of the seized vessels and free passage of all ships through the Kerch Straits. The EU stands ready to adopt measures to strengthen further its support, in particular in favour of the affected areas of Ukraine.
9. The European Council warmly welcomes the positive vote in the European Parliament on the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement and looks forward to its imminent entry into force.