European Council, 29-30 June 2023

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Publication Date 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 29-30 June 2023. Leaders discussed the EU's continued support for Ukraine, notably sustainable military and financial support, and how to boost long-term economic strength and resilience in the EU. They also discussed migration, matters of external relations, and in particular the bilateral relations between China and the EU. NATO Secretary General joined the meeting to discuss EU-NATO cooperation, and Ukraine's President addressed the leaders via video conference.

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EU leaders reiterated their condemnation of the Russia's invasion of Ukraine and their solidarity with the latter and its people. They took stock of progress on the delivery and joint procurements of ammunition to Ukraine, and they underlined the importance of continuing efforts to help meet Ukraine's pressing military and defence needs, while also taking into account Member States' security and defence policies. Leaders condemned the deliberate destruction of the dam at the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant, and underlined the need to ensure stable, predictable and sustainable financial support to help the reconstruction of Ukraine.

They reaffirmed their support to the country's peace formula, and their commitment to ensuring Russia is held accountable for the war. EU leaders called for the immediate safe return of unlawfully deported Ukrainian civilians, and reviewed efforts to increase pressure on Russia through the implementation of sanctions. They condemned the support provided by Belarus and Iran to Russia, and showed concern for the slowdown in the implementation of the Black Sea Grain Initiative.

Moldova and Ukraine were encouraged to continue reform efforts in their respective EU accession processes, and Georgia was urged to meet the condition to advance in its prospects. Leaders reaffirmed their commitment to EU membership aspirations of the Western Balkans region.

EU leaders stressed the need to enhance the EU's economic resilience and security to defend its values globally while preserving an open economy. Co-legislators were urged to advance work on the several legislative initiatives seeking to fulfil this principle. Leaders welcomed the entry into force of the Unified Patent Court Agreement and held a discussion on the Country-Specific Recommendations (CSRs), thus allowing for the conclusion of the annual European Semester cycle.

Leaders also took stock of the progress made in implementing past conclusions as regards security and defence, notably the Versailles Declaration. They also welcomed progress in the implementation of the Strategic Compass. Leaders underlined the need to strengthen the technological and industrial base of the EU's defence sector.

The meeting comprised a strategic discussion on China, which is seen as a partner, a competitor and a systemic rival of the EU. EU leaders expressed concern about growing tensions in the Taiwan Strait and the situation in Tibet and Xinjiang, as well as over the treatment of human rights defenders and persons belonging to minorities.

Other matters relating to external relations included Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), the so-called Southern Neighbourhood which was subject to a strategic discussion, and the latest developments in Kosovo. They also addressed the role of the African Union on the international stage, the situation in Cyprus and the relations between the EU and Turkey.

Despite the efforts during the meeting, the Member States were not able to agree on a set of conclusions as regards migration, signalling the lack of consensus and, in particular, the blocking stance of Hungary and Poland.

Related Links
Commentary and Analysis
European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS): Briefing, 27/06/2023: Outlook for the European Council meeting of 29-30 June 2023
Euro|topics, June-July 2023: EU migration policy: Poland and Hungary vs. the rest
European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS): Briefing, 04/07/2023: Outcome of the European Council meeting of 29-30 June 2023

Associated Press (AP News), 28/06/2023: New migrant tragedy at sea changes little as EU leaders forge ahead with tougher borders plans
Politico: Live Blog, 29/06/2023: EU leaders’ summit
Euronews, 29/06/2023: EU leaders gather in Brussels to discuss Ukraine, China and migration
Reuters, 29/06/2023: EU leaders back security commitments for Ukraine
Associated Press (AP News), 29/06/2023: EU leaders recommit to support Ukraine as they and NATO see divisions emerging in Russia
RFI News, 29/06/2023: EU leaders meet to assess Russia, NATO and migration crisis
Deutsche Welle, 29/06/2023: EU leaders meet to discuss Ukraine, Wagner mutiny
Le Monde, 29/06/2023: EU seeks migration cooperation agreements with North African countries
Associated Press (AP News), 29/06/2023: Angered over EU migrant rules, Poland and Hungary veto a summit statement in a gesture of protest
EurActiv, 30/06/2023: Ten EU leaders meet to ‘brainstorm’ bloc’s enlargement future
Politico, 30/06/2023: Migration mutiny: EU summit deadlocks
Euronews, 30/06/2023: EU summit ends with a whimper as Poland and Hungary resist migration reform
Euronews, 03/07/2023: Von der Leyen replies to Hungary and Poland: Migration reform will be done by 'qualified majority'

General Secretariat of the Council: Meetings: European Council, 29-30 June 2023
General Secretariat of the Council: European Council conclusions, 29-30 June 2023
European Parliament: Press Release, 14/06/2023: MEPs look ahead to next EU summit
European Council: Remarks by President Charles Michel before the June European Council meeting (29 June 2023)
Irish Government: Press Release, 29/06/2023: Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to attend a meeting of the European Council in Brussels
European Council: Remarks by President Charles Michel following the European Council meeting of 29 and 30 June 2023 (30 June 2023)
European Council: Press Release, 30/06/2023: Conclusions by the President of the European Council on the external dimension of migration
European Commission: Opening remarks by President von der Leyen at the joint press conference with President Michel and Prime Minister Kristersson following the meeting of the European Council of 29-30 June 2023 (30 June 2023)
Polish Government: News, 30/06/2023: European Council attended by Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki

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