The June European Council summit focused on the ongoing efforts to strengthen the European Union and protect its citizens through the work on counterterrorism, security and defense, external borders, illegal migration and economic development. European leaders strongly condemned the recent terror attacks and reiterated their commitment to cooperate at EU level to prevent and counter extremism, fight online radicalization, address terrorism financing and enhance mechanisms of information sharing.
To strengthen the continent’s security and defense, the European Council also agreed on an ambitious permanent structured cooperation, embraced the progress made on a European Defense Fund, and proposed a European defense industrial development program. Another important point on the agenda was climate. EU heads of state reaffirmed their commitment to the swift and full implementation of the Paris deal on climate change. The leaders emphasized that the agreement is a cornerstone of global efforts to effectively tackle climate change, whereby the deal cannot be further renegotiated. They also said that it was a key element for the modernization of the European industry and economy.
Brexit was another hot topic on the table when the EU27 met to review the latest development in the negotiations following the United Kingdom’s notification of Article 50. Brussels made it clear that before the talks on the UK’s “future relationship” with the EU might begin, Britain needs to clarify the status of EU nationals living in the country following Brexit. European Council President Donald Tusk, however, said, following the protests of EU citizens living in the UK, that the current proposal does not meet the EU’s expectations.
EU nationals living the UK argue that Mrs. May’s so-called “generous offer” will leave them with fewer rights than firms trading across borders. Mr. Tusk said that the EU would study the British proposal “line by line” and reminded that the EU’s position was clear: “We want to ensure the full rights for EU and UK citizens after Brexit.”