Meeting: European Council, 17-18 December 2015

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Series Title
Series Details 17-18.12.15
Publication Date 17/12/2015
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The Heads of state and government of the EU Member States met in the European Council in Brussels on 17-18 December 2015.

On 17 December 2015, EU leaders adopted conclusions on migration and the referendum in the UK.

+ Migration
In order to tackle the unprecedented flows of refugees in 2015, the EU has set out a comprehensive strategy and is fully engaged in solving the most pressing issues.

According to a report by the Luxembourg Presidency, implementation has been advancing rapidly in some areas, but significant gaps still remain.

The European Council took stock of the implementation of the decisions already taken and agreed to speed up actions on:

+ the operation of hotspots
+ the implementation of the relocation decisions and returns
+ the control of the EU's external borders
+ cooperation with countries of origin and transit

EU leaders also asked the Council to rapidly examine the European Commission's proposal of strengthening the EU's external borders released on 15 December 2015.

+ Referendum in the UK
In November 2015 UK Prime Minister David Cameron set out the four areas where he is seeking reforms to address the concerns of the British people over UK membership of the European Union.

The European Council exchanged views on the UK plans for the referendum and agreed to find solutions in all the four areas at their February 2016 meeting.

On the 18 December 2015 the following conclusions were reached

+ Fight against terrorism
Following the terrorist attacks in Paris on 13 November 2015, the EU must step up even more its action against terrorism. The European Council discussed further actions in terms of:

- exchange of information and terrorism financing
- control at the external borders
- conditions leading to terrorism, the prevention of radicalisation and violent extremism
- counter terrorism cooperation with third countries

Leaders welcomed the agreement on a directive on the use of passenger name record (PNR) and called for its rapid implementation.

+ Economic and Monetary Union
EU leaders discussed economic issues. They focused on the main points of the Five President's report on the Economic and Monetary Union, released in June 2015.

+ Internal market
Further to the Commission communication 'Upgrading the single market: more opportunities for people and business', the European Council called for the completion of the European single market in all its dimensions and accelerate the implementation of the the digital single market and the capital markets union.

It also stressed the importance to reach a successful deal on TTIP negotiations.

+ Energy union with a forward-looking climate policy
EU leaders welcomed the historic climate deal that was agreed at the COP21 in Paris in December 2015, and called to accelerate work on an energy union with a forward-looking climate policy.

They stressed the importance of the diversification of suppliers, sources and routes, which is one of the objectives of the Energy Union.

+ External relations
The European Council finished by adopting conclusions on Syria, Libya, and refugee funding.

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