Results of the European Council of 19 and 20 December
The Foreign Minister and the Minister of Economy and Finance made a statement about the results of the European Council held in Brussels on 19 and 20 December.
The Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) was the central focus of the European Council, with three major objectives aimed at strengthening Europeans’ strategic autonomy: (i) the effectiveness of operations and missions, (ii) the development of capabilities and (iii) the defence industry. On each of these, specific guidelines were decided on, in particular for improving the financing of European operations and launching new procurement programmes. They represent a real step forward in building Defence Europe.
On the Central African Republic, the heads of state and government lent their unanimous support to the French intervention and asked the High Representative to present, at the next Foreign Affairs Council on 20 January 2014, options for European security and defence activities aimed at stabilizing the country.
Meanwhile, the work on deepening the Euro Area continued. The European Council endorsed the Ecofin Council’s agreement on the resolution mechanism, which will enable savers and national budgets to be protected in the event of a bank in Europe failing. A crucial step was thus taken in the establishment of banking union.
The European Council also debated mechanisms for coordinating economic policies and for solidarity within the Euro Area. It set itself the target of reaching an agreement in October 2014.
The European Council called for full implementation of the Growth Pact to be continued, particularly in the areas of the fight against youth unemployment and of financing Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs). It also gave a new boost to work on combating fraud and tax avoidance.
The European Council called for the measures identified to prevent tragedies such as the one off Lampedusa from recurring in future to be implemented resolutely.
Regarding Syria, the Council recalled in particular that the EU remains fully committed at humanitarian level. The Eastern Partnership – particularly the situation in Ukraine – was also discussed. (…)./.