Informal meeting of heads of state or government, 10-11 March 2022

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Publication Date March 2022
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EU National leaders were summoned for an informal summit on 10-11 March 2022. The Versailles Declaration was adopted at the meeting, covering Russia's aggression against Ukraine and outlining how the European Union (EU) can bolster defence capabilities, reduce energy dependencies and build a more robust economic base.

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Leaders stressed that Russia's invasion of Ukraine violated international law and undermined European and global security and stability. Full responsibility of the consequences were placed on Russian authorities and their Belarusian counterparts. There was also determination to increase pressure on Russia and Belarus further and ensure the full implementation of sanctions. Leaders commended Ukrainian people and stated that the EU and its Member States would continue to provide coordinated political, financial, material and humanitarian support, as well as support for the reconstruction of a democratic Ukraine.

There was an acknowledgement of the European aspiration and choice made by Ukraine, and undertook to further strengthen the bonds and deepen the partnership with the Ukraine. The European Commission was invited to submit an opinion on Ukraine's EU membership application, as well as those put forward by Moldova and Georgia.

Leaders reaffirmed their commitment to take more responsibility for the EU's own security, pursue a strategic course of action in defence and increase its capacity to act autonomously. This understanding built on previous European Council conclusions. The importance of coordination with partners and allies, including EU-NATO cooperation, was also highlighted. Leaders argued for an investment boost in defence capabilities and innovation technologies.

A discussion was held on how to ensure security of energy supplies, in line with the situation in Ukraine as well as existing targets of climate neutrality. Leaders agreed to phase out EU dependence on Russian gas, oil and coal imports, and stated that the EU would continue to ensure sufficient levels of gas storage and coordinated refilling operations. Energy prices were also addressed.

EU Leaders stated the importance of reducing strategic dependencies in critical sectors. This should be complemented by fostering industrial initiatives and a robust trade policy, and by strengthening EU research and innovation capabilities.

Further guidance was agreed on financing and investments, which includes reforming procedures to authorise investment projects in the EU and creating a simple and predictable regulatory environment. Leaders also stressed the need to deepen the Capital Markets Union (CMU) and to complete the Banking Union.

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Commentary and Analysis
Foreign Policy: Argument, 09/03/2022: Ukraine Is Europe’s Chance for Renewal
ECFR: View from the Council, 09/03/2022: A new Versailles declaration for Ukraine
Politico, 09/03/2022: Ukraine war gives Macron’s drive for EU autonomy new impetus
EurActiv: Opinion, 10/03/2022: Russia’s war in Ukraine: Why doubling down on the Green Deal is the best strategy
BBC News, 11/03/2022: Emotions high as EU leaders face up to Putin's war
Bloomberg: Opinion, 11/03/2022: From `Pax Europa’ to Preparing for Life During Wartime
The Local (Italy), 14/03/2022: ‘Tectonic shift’: How the Ukraine crisis has changed the EU
Euro|topics, March 2022: EU summit in Versailles: results too vague?
EPRS: Briefing, March 2022: Outcome of the informal European Council in Versailles on 10-11 March 2022

France24, 10/03/2022: Ukraine crisis to dominate EU leaders' Versailles summit
Euronews, 10/03/2022: EU leaders meet in Versailles to discuss the Ukraine war and energy independence
EUObserver, 10/03/2022: Leaders gather at Versailles after atrocity in Ukraine
The Guardian, 10/03/2022: Western Europe leaders rebuff Ukraine fast-track EU membership appeal
The Local (France), 10/03/2022: Macron hosts EU leaders at Versailles for Ukraine summit
RFI News, 10/03/2022: Ukraine war to dominate EU leaders' summit in Versailles
Channel 4 News (UK), 10/03/2022: European leaders gather in Versailles for emergency summit to boost support for Ukraine
VOA News, 10/03/2022: Ukraine Dominates Two-day EU Summit Outside Paris
The Irish Times, 10/03/2022: EU leaders split over timing of phasing out Russian fossil fuels
Deutsche Welle, 11/03/2022: EU leaders in Versailles united on Ukraine, but won't offer fast-track membership
Politico, 11/03/2022: EU leaders back Ukraine but balk at fast-track membership
EurActiv, 11/03/2022: France plants seed for joint EU borrowing scheme to absorb sanctions effects
Reuters, 11/03/2022: EU should give Ukraine candidate status now - Lithuania
Associated Press, 11/03/2022: EU united on Ukraine, but won’t offer fast-track membership
RTÉ News, 11/03/2022: EU plans further package of sanctions on Russia
RTL Today, 11/03/2022: Grave mood at EU summit in gilded Versailles palace

General Secretariat of the Council: Background Brief for the meeting - Informal meeting of the European Council Versailles, 10 and 11 March 2022
European Council: Invitation letter by President Charles Michel to the members of the European Council ahead of their informal meeting of 10 and 11 March 2022 (8 March 2022)
Finnish Government: Press Release, 09/03/2022: Prime Minister Marin to attend EU meeting in France
European Council: Remarks by President Charles Michel before the informal meeting of heads of state or government in Versailles (10 March 2022)
European Commission: Opening remarks by President von der Leyen at the joint press conference with President Michel and President Macron following the informal meeting of Heads of State or Government of 10-11 March 2022
European Council: Statement of the heads of state or government, meeting in Versailles, on the Russian military aggression against Ukraine, 10 March 2022
Irish Government: Press Release, 10/03/2022: Taoiseach Micheál Martin attends Informal Meeting of European Council
Slovenian Government: News, 10/03/2022: Prime Minister Janez Janša in Versailles: In Ukraine, they are also fighting for Europe
Italian Government: Presidency of the Council of Ministers, 10/03/2022: Prime Minister Draghi’s doorstep at the Versailles Summit
European Council: The Versailles declaration, 10 and 11 March 2022
Conseil Européen: Intervention du président Charles Michel lors de la conférence de presse à l’issue de la réunion informelle des chefs d'État ou de gouvernement à Versailles (11 mars 2022) - French language
Estonian Government: News, 11/03/2022: Kallas in Versailles: Ukraine has a place in the European Union
Ukrainian Government: News, 11/03/2022: Olha Stefanishyna: The meeting in Versailles marked the beginning of Ukraine's official accession to the EU
European Investment Bank (EIB): Press Release, 11/03/2022: EU Leaders’ meeting in Versailles: EIB President Hoyer offers strong support to EU efforts in Ukraine and to reinforce energy security

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