Special meeting of the European Council, 24-25 May 2021

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Publication Date May 2021
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EU National leaders were summoned for a special European Council summit on 24-25 May 2021 to discuss a number of matters concerning foreign affairs, climate change and the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.

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The European Council condemned the forced landing of a flight in Minsk and the detention by Belarusian authorities of journalist Raman Pratasevich and Sofia Sapega. A set of conclusions were adopted comprising measures to apply pressure on the country's regime. Leaders also held a strategic debate on Russia and condemned the country's activities against the European Union (EU), its Member States and others. They reaffirmed the commitment to five principles governing EU policy concerning Russia.

National leaders welcomed the entry into force of the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement. They also reaffirmed their commitment to the integrity of the EU's single market, the Customs Union and the EU's decision-making autonomy. They urged the European Commission to ensure full implementation of the agreements.

The ceasefire aimed at bringing an end to the violence between Israel and Palestine was welcomed during the meeting. Leaders reaffirmed their commitment to a two-state solution. On Mali, leaders condemned the kidnapping of President of the Transition and the Prime Minister and called for their immediate release.

EU leaders acknowledged the acceleration in the pace of vaccination against COVID-19 and discussed the general epidemiological situation in the European Union. They agreed with a gradual reopening of societies with the need of vigilance regarding the emergence and spread of variants. They also highlighted the importance of stepping vaccination production and security adequate supply across the EU. Leaders welcomed the agreement reached on the proposed EU Digital COVID Certificate and reaffirmed the need for a comprehensive global response to COVID-19.

On climate change, national leaders reaffirmed the conclusions from December 2020 and invited the European Commission to table related legislative initiatives in preparation. They welcomed the agreement on the proposed European Climate Law and the renewed commitment of the United States of America (USA) to the Paris Agreement.

The outcome of this meeting was discussed at the European Parliament on 9 June 2021.

Source Link https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/meetings/european-council/2021/05/24-25/
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Commentary and Analysis
EPRS: Briefing, May 2021: Outlook for the special European Council meeting of 24-25 May 2021 https://www.europarl.europa.eu/thinktank/en/document.html?reference=EPRS_BRI(2021)662639
EPRS: Briefing, May 2021: Outcome of the special European Council meeting of 24-25 May 2021 https://www.europarl.europa.eu/thinktank/en/document.html?reference=EPRS_BRI(2021)662635

Politico: EU summit on Belarus, COVID-19 and climate [Live Blog] https://www.politico.eu/article/european-council-summit-live-blog-belarus-plane-hijack-coronavirus-climate-change/
Swissinfo.ch, 24/05/2021: Fury over Belarus airliner action set to dominate EU summit https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/fury-over-belarus-airliner-action-set-to-dominate-eu-summit/46643812
Reuters, 24/05/2021: Belgium wants "severe" response from EU over Belarus forced landing https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/fury-over-belarus-airliner-action-set-dominate-eu-summit-2021-05-24/
Bloomberg, 24/05/2021: EU Leaders Fail to Bridge Gap on Sharing Cost of Green Goals https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-05-24/eu-leaders-set-for-spat-over-distribution-of-carbon-cut-burden
France24, 24/05/2021: EU imposes sanctions, cuts air links with Belarus over plane 'hijacking' https://www.france24.com/en/europe/20210524-eu-leaders-agree-more-sanctions-on-belarus-over-plane-diversion
Times of Malta, 25/05/2021: EU summit welcomes COVID-19 certificate to unlock travel https://timesofmalta.com/articles/view/eu-summit-welcomes-covid-19-certificate-to-unlock-travel.874546
Euronews, 25/05/2021: EU pledges 100 million vaccine doses for low-income countries https://www.euronews.com/2021/05/25/eu-pledges-100-million-vaccines-doses-for-low-income-countries
Kathimerini, 25/05/2021: EU leaders agree to donate 100 million doses of vaccines https://www.ekathimerini.com/news/1161747/eu-leaders-agree-to-donate-100-million-doses-of-vaccines/
Deutsche Welle, 25/05/2021: EU summit: COVID, climate change top second-day agenda https://p.dw.com/p/3ttUu
Reuters, 25/05/2021: EU leaders agree to pile more sanctions on Belarus over Ryanair incident https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/eu-leaders-agree-pile-more-sanctions-belarus-over-ryanair-incident-2021-05-24/
France24, 25/05/2021: EU summit welcomes Covid certificate to unlock travel https://www.france24.com/en/live-news/20210525-eu-summit-welcomes-covid-certificate-to-unlock-travel
VOA News, 25/05/2021: EU to Deliver COVID-19 Shots to Developing Nations https://www.voanews.com/europe/eu-deliver-covid-19-shots-developing-nations
EurActiv, 26/05/2021: EU leaders shelve request on design of climate change targets https://www.euractiv.com/section/climate-environment/news/eu-leaders-shelve-request-on-design-of-climate-change-targets/

European Council: Press Release, 21/05/2021: Invitation letter by President Charles Michel to the members of the European Council ahead of their special meeting of 24 and 25 May 2021 https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2021/05/21/invitation-letter-by-president-charles-michel-to-the-members-of-the-european-council-ahead-of-their-special-meeting-of-24-and-25-may-2021/
European Council: Remarks by President Charles Michel before the Special meeting of the European Council (24 May 2021) https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2021/05/24/remarks-by-president-charles-michel-before-the-special-meeting-of-the-european-council/
European Commission: Opening remarks by President von der Leyen at the joint press conference with President Michel following the Special meeting of the European Council of 24 May 2021 https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/statement_21_2661
General Secretariat of the Council: Special meeting of the European Council (24 and 25 May 2021) – Conclusions https://www.consilium.europa.eu/media/49791/2425-05-21-euco-conclusions-en.pdf
European Council: Remarks by President Charles Michel following the first day of the Special meeting of the European Council (25 May 2021) https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2021/05/25/remarks-by-president-charles-michel/
European Commission: Opening remarks by President von der Leyen at the joint press conference with President Michel following the Special meeting of the European Council of 25 May 2021 https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/statement_21_2662
European Council: Remarks by President Charles Michel following the second day of the Special meeting of the European Council (25 May 2021) https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2021/05/25/remarks-by-president-charles-michel-following-the-second-day-of-the-special-meeting-of-the-european-council/
European Council: Press Release, 09/06/2021: Report by President Charles Michel to the European Parliament plenary session https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2021/06/09/report-by-president-charles-michel-to-the-european-parliament-plenary-session/
European Commission: Speech by President von der Leyen at the European Parliament Plenary on the conclusions of the special meeting of the European Council of 24-25 May 2021 (9 June 2021) https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/speech_21_2907

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