European Council, 23 March 2023

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Publication Date March 2023
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National Leaders from the Member States of the European Union (EU) gathered for a meeting of the European Council on 23 March 2023. They discussed the latest developments in relation to Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the support provided by the EU to Ukraine. Competitiveness, single market and the economy, energy, external relations and migration, among other topics, were also discussed. A Euro Summit was held on 24 March 2023 in its inclusive format.

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The European Council reiterated its resolute condemnation of Russia's actions and full support for Ukraine and its people. EU leaders welcomed a resolution by the UN General Assembly on Principles of the Charter of the United Nations underlying a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in Ukraine. EU leaders reiterated their support for Ukraine's proposed peace plan, and discussed matters relating to the accountability of perpetrators causing the aggression and war crimes. The European Council also welcomed the agreement to provide Ukraine with 1 million rounds of artillery ammunition within a year.

Leaders reaffirmed the intention to provide all relevant support to Moldova to strengthen the country's resilience, security, stability and economy. In this context, the European Commission was invited to present a support package. Leaders also took note of the latest extension of the UN Black Sea Grain Initiative.

The meeting also focused on long-term prosperity, the need to deepen the EU's single market and reinforce industrial, agricultural and trade policies. On the occasion of its 30th anniversary, the European Council highlighted the benefits of the EU's single market and supported a renewed focus on enforcing rules and removing barriers to cross-border business. EU leaders called for work to be taken forward on boosting the EU's long-term competitiveness, and on proposed initiatives focusing on critical raw materials and net-zero industry. A strategic discussion was held on the geopolitical aspects of trade.

Leaders endorsed the orientations for a reform of the EU's economic governance framework adopted by the Council of the European Union. They endorsed a draft Council recommendation on the economic policy of the Euro area, in the framework of the 2023 European Semester. The European Council also endorsed the policy priorities of the Annual Sustainable Growth Survey.

The European Council took stock of actions taken at EU level to address high energy prices, reduce gas demand, ensure security of supply and phase out dependency on Russian fossil fuels. Leaders called on the European Commission and the Member States to ensure preparedness and contingency planning in view of next gas storage filling and heating seasons.

Leaders held an exchange of views with the UN Secretary General. They agreed on the importance of EU-UN cooperation to tackle global challenges and stressed their shared commitment to multilateralism.

The Council Presidency and the European Commission informed the European Council on the progress in the implementation of conclusions on migration adopted in February 2023. EU leaders welcomed the outcome of the Donors' Conference in support of people in Turkey and Syria following an earthquake in the region, the agreement on the path to normalisation of relations between Kosovo and Serbia, and the agreement on the Windsor Framework.

In the margins of the European Council, a Euro Summit in inclusive format (with all 27 leaders) was held on 24 March 2023.

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Commentary and Analysis
European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS): Briefing, 20/03/2023: Outlook for the meetings of EU leaders on 23-24 March 2023
European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA): Press Release, 21/03/2023: Auto industry calls on EU leaders to act on eroding industry competitiveness
The Economist: Leaders, 23/03/2023: How the EU should respond to American subsidies
European People's Party (EPP): News, 23/03/2023: EPP Summit Statement
European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS): Briefing, 27/03/2023: Outcome of the meetings of EU leaders of 23-24 March 2023

Politico: Live blog: European Council summit (23 March 2023)
Reuters, 23/03/2023: EU leaders back steps to compete with US, China
France24, 23/03/2023: Franco-German tensions on carbon-neutral plans loom over EU summit
Euronews, 23/03/2023: EU leaders meet in Brussels to discuss Ukraine and the economy. But will e-fuels rock the summit?
Associated Press (AP News), 23/03/2023: EU leaders endorse joint ammo purchases for Ukraine
EUObserver, 23/03/2023: EU leaders agree 1m artillery shells for Ukraine
The Local (France), 23/03/2023: France-Germany row overshadows EU leaders' summit
EurActiv, 23/03/2023: Zelenskyy urges EU leaders to address ‘five delays’ in Ukraine support
RTÉ News, 24/03/2023: EU banks resilient, have strong capital and liquidity - EU leaders
Politico, 24/03/2023: We can’t lose China, EU leaders say
Politico, 24/03/2023: EU leaders’ summit ends on a car cliffhanger
Bloomberg, 24/03/2023: ECB’s Lagarde Tells EU Leaders That Banking Sector Is Strong
El País, 25/03/2023: EU leaders play down bank risks as economy weakens
The Irish Times, 25/03/2023: EU leaders spooked by plunge in bank shares

European Parliament: Press Release, 15/03/2023: MEPs demand the EU boosts clean tech industry and fights human trafficking
European Commission: Speech by President von der Leyen at the European Parliament Plenary on the preparation of the European Council meeting of 23-24 March 2023 (15 March 2023)
European Council: Invitation letter by President Charles Michel to the members of the European Council (21 March 2023)
European Council: European Council conclusions, 23 March 2023
European Council: Remarks by President Charles Michel following the European Council meeting of 23 March 2023
European Commission: Opening remarks by President von der Leyen at the joint press conference with President Michel following the meeting of the European Council of 23 March 2023
European Council: Readout of the working session of the European Council with the UN Secretary General (23 March 2023)
European Council: Euro Summit, 24 March 2023
European Council: Statement of the Euro Summit, meeting in inclusive format (24 March 2023)

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