Informal meeting of EU heads of state or government, Valletta, Malta, 3 February 2017

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Series Details 03.02.17
Publication Date 03/02/2017
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An informal meeting of the EU heads of state and government was held in Malta on 3 February 2017. The agenda included the following topics:

+ Discussion on the external dimension on migration, in particular on the Central Mediterranean route and Libya;

+ Preparations for the 60th anniversary of the Rome Treaties, including a discussion on the future of the European Union.

The informal summit took place in two parts:

+ an informal European Council meeting in which all EU Member States participated
+ an informal meeting of the 27 Heads of State or Government without the UK, at which EU27 continued their reflection on their common future started in Bratislava in September 2016.

EU-Libya cooperation: stemming the flow
In the morning, the 28 EU heads of state of government discussed the external dimension of migration. They adopted the Malta Declaration, which focused on measures to stem the flow of migration from Libya to Italy.

In the declaration they noted that on the Central Mediterranean route over 181,000 irregular migrants arrived in 2016, and the number of persons dead or missing at sea reached a new record every year since 2013.

With the spring 2017 approaching, leaders decided to take additional action to significantly reduce migratory flows, break the business model of smugglers and save lives. In particular, the agreed to step up cooperation with the Libyan authorities.

Leaders also welcomed the intention of the Maltese Presidency to present a concrete plan for implementation to the Council at the earliest opportunity, to take work forward and to ensure close monitoring of results. The European Council should review progress on the overall approach at its meetings in March and in June 2017 on the basis of a report from the Maltese Presidency.

Ahead of the summit President Tusk met with Fayez al-Sarraj, Prime Minister of Libya. They discussed possible ways of better cooperation between the EU and Libya.

Preparations for the 60th anniversary of the Rome Treaties
The afternoon session was an occasion for the 27 leaders to prepare for the upcoming 60th anniversary of the Rome Treaties on 25 March 2017.

The discussions built upon the political reflection on the future of the EU with 27 member states, launched immediately after the UK voted to leave the European Union on 23 June 2016 and continued in Bratislava on 16 September 2016.

In his letter on the future of Europe sent to the 27 heads of state or government on 31 January 2017, President Donald Tusk identified three main threats, dangerous for the stability of Europe. These include:

+ new geopolitical situation: an increasingly assertive China, Russia's aggressive policy towards Ukraine and its neighbours, wars, terror and anarchy in the Middle East and in Africa (with radical Islam playing a major role) and worrying declarations by the new American administration all make our future highly unpredictable
+ internal situation: a rise of the nationalist, increasingly xenophobic sentiment in the EU itself
+ state of mind of the pro-European elites: decline of faith in political integration, submission to populist arguments and doubt in the fundamental values of liberal democracy

President Donald Tusk called on the leaders to stay united.
'It must be made crystal clear that the disintegration of the European Union will not lead to the restoration of some mythical, full sovereignty of its member states, but to their real and factual dependence on the great superpowers: the United States, Russia and China. Only together can we be fully independent'.

In the background of the meeting was much discussion of the way forward for relations with the United States under the Trump Presidency.

Source Link http://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/meetings/european-council/2017/02/03-informal-meeting/
Related Link(s)
European Council: Press Release, 31.01.17: Invitation letter from President Donald Tusk to the EU heads of state or government before the Malta summit http://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2017/01/31-tusk-invitation-letter-malta/
European Council: Press Release, 31.01.17: "United we stand, divided we fall": letter by President Donald Tusk to the 27 EU heads of state or government on the future of the EU before the Malta summit http://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2017/01/31-tusk-letter-future-europe/
EurActiv, 31.01.17: Tusk tells EU leaders only pride and unity can prevent disintegration http://www.euractiv.com/section/future-eu/news/tusk-tells-eu-leaders-only-pride-and-unity-can-prevent-disintegration/
EUObserver, 01.02.17: Migration crisis: EU leaders to step up Libya aid https://euobserver.com/migration/136745
Euro|Topics: Debates, February 2017: Can Europe grow stronger because of Trump? / Can Europe face up to Trump? http://www.eurotopics.net/en/173667/can-europe-grow-stronger-because-of-trump
EP: EPRS: At a Glance: Pre-European Council Briefing, February 2017: Outlook for the informal European Council and informal meeting of 27 Heads of State or Government on 3 February 2017 http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/ATAG/2017/598593/EPRS_ATA(2017)598593_EN.pdf
Carnegie Europe: Strategic Europe, 02.02.17: The Specter of Post-Atlanticist Europe http://carnegieeurope.eu/strategiceurope/67874
European Council: Statement, 03.02.17: Remarks by President Donald Tusk ahead of the informal summit in Malta http://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2017/02/02-tusk-doorstep-malta/
EU: EEAS: Remarks, 03.02.17: Remarks by HRVP Federica Mogherini upon arrival at the Informal Malta Summit 2017 https://eeas.europa.eu/headquarters/headquarters-homepage/19867
EU: EEAS: Remarks, 01.02.17: Opening remarks by the HRVP Federica Mogherini at the debate on managing migration along the Central Mediterranean route https://eeas.europa.eu/headquarters/headquarters-homepage/19755/
European Council: Statement, 03.02.17: Remarks by President Donald Tusk at the informal summit in Malta http://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2017/02/03-tusk-press-remarks-malta/
EUObserver, 03.02.17: EU leaders forced to unite in new Trump reality https://euobserver.com/political/136791
European Parliament: Press Release, 03.02.17: ‘Less bureaucracy and more politics’ message to stakeholders and leaders by President Tajani prior to Informal European Council in Valletta http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/news-room/20170203IPR61062/
EP: EPRS: At a Glance: Post-European Council Briefing, February 2017: Outcome of the informal European Council and informal meeting of 27 Heads of State or Government on 3 February 2017 http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/ATAG/2017/598594/EPRS_ATA(2017)598594_EN.pdf

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