Remarks by President Charles Michel following the video conference of the members of the European Council, 19 June 2020

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We had today the occasion to have this video conference at the level of the European Council. And as you know, the main topic was the MFF (Multiannual Financial Framework) and the Recovery Fund. It was the first occasion to discuss at the level of the leaders the proposals put on the table by the Commission, the MFF and the Recovery Fund. It was the occasion to observe that on different points there is an emerging consensus, which is very positive. But at the same time, we don’t underestimate the difficulties. And on different topics we observe that it is necessary to continue to discuss.

This video conference was important and essential because the first three weeks after the publication of the proposals of the Commission, we had the occasion to consult the Member States to find clarity on the interpretation of those proposals. Now we shift to another phase, we will negotiate. I welcome the readiness to engage. I am totally committed to start immediately real negotiations with the Member States.  We intend to have a physical summit around the middle of July in Brussels.  We will have the occasion to focus on some concrete proposals. Before this summit, I will put on the table some concrete proposals in order to try to take a decision. We are aware that it is essential to take a decision as soon as possible.

We also had the occasion, Ursula (von der Leyen) and myself, to give a debrief after the high level meeting that we had at the beginning of this week, with Boris Johnson, about Brexit. And as you know, during this meeting, we repeated the mandate that we have decided at the European level. We repeated that we are committed in order to reach an agreement, but not at any cost. We consider, for example, the questions like the level playing field, like governance, like the protocol regarding Ireland and Northern Ireland are very essential topics in our opinion. And we took note that for the United Kingdom, they don’t have the intention to ask for an extension of the transition period. It means that we need to intensify the negotiations. We trust Michel Barnier and we will have the occasion to come back at the level of the European Council later on this important topic.

We also had the occasion to have a debrief by Angela Merkel regarding the implementation of the Minsk agreements. And it means that now the Council can proceed with the rollover of the sanctions.

And finally, I would like to congratulate Andrej Plenković. The rotating Presidency by Croatia was not an easy task because of these exceptional circumstances that we faced together and we are facing. And I would like to congratulate him for his leadership, for his creativity, for his flexibility. We had, with Ursula and Andrej, a perfect cooperation. Thank you for that, it is a great job. You played, dear Andrej, a very essential role in different topics, especially regarding the Enlargement discussions and the possibility to find an agreement at the level of the European Council on this important strategic topic. Thank you for that Andrej.



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