The heads of government of the 27 EU countries discussed the big issues again. There are numerous construction sites. When it comes to Brexit, the Chancellor makes a clear statement. An overview.
The first day of the summit was overshadowed by the Corona issue. EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen had to leave the summit shortly after it began when she learned that there had been a corona case in her office. Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki had not traveled to Brussels, but had also gone into domestic isolation because he had contact with a corona infected person in his area.
The other important topic on the first day of the summit was the relationship between the European Union and Great Britain. And advice was also given on climate protection. The meeting is due to continue on Friday at 9.30 a.m. with a debate on relations with Africa.
Here is an overview of the first results:
Negotiations with Great Britain
Shortly before the British government decided to continue negotiations on a trade agreement with the EU, Chancellor Angela Merkel is calling for compromises. “Everyone has their red lines,” said Merkel on Thursday evening after the end of the first day of the EU summit in Brussels. “We have asked Great Britain to continue to be willing to compromise in terms of an agreement. This includes that we too have to make compromises.” The Chancellor chose a softer tone than, for example, French President Emmanuel Macron.
On the status of the talks on the trade pact, the CDU politician said there was light and shadow. “In some places things have moved well. There is still a lot of work to be done in other places.” Overall, an agreement would make sense for both sides. “If necessary, we have to live without it, but I think it would be better if we had such an agreement,” said Merkel.
The EU summit agreed to continue negotiating a trade agreement for a few more weeks. The heads of state and government also decided to prepare more intensively for a no-deal scenario. Macron had insisted that his country should be ready for this too. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will decide on Friday whether the kingdom will continue negotiations. He originally set the EU a deadline of October 15 for an agreement.
EU negotiator Michel Barnier said he still saw opportunities for an agreement. The EU summit gave him the mandate to discuss the disputed fishing rights, the dispute settlement mechanism and access to the UK market and the EU internal market.
The EU heads of state and government had previously issued a statement calling on Great Britain to “take the necessary steps to make an agreement possible”. The British government reacted angrily. Your negotiator, David Frost, was “disappointed” and said he was surprised “that all future steps must come from Britain”. This is “an unusual approach to negotiate”.
In view of the dramatic increase in the number of corona infections across Europe, the heads of state and government of the EU have agreed to work more closely together on combating pandemics. In a statement after the first day of the EU summit in Brussels on Friday night, they spoke out in favor of better coordination of quarantine regulations, cross-border contact tracing, test strategies, the development of vaccination capacities and travel restrictions. The current situation was “unprecedented” and gave “cause for serious concern”.
After the deliberations, Chancellor Angela Merkel emphasized that it was a matter of preventing unchecked growth in the number of infections. That is why there will be more regular consultations via video in future. “The question of how we can get out of this pandemic will determine the health of many people. It will determine the question: How many people have to die? And it also determines our economic performance,” emphasized the CDU politician.
New climate goals
The EU countries have basically agreed to tighten the climate target for 2030. “In order to achieve the goal of a climate-neutral EU by 2050 in accordance with the Paris Agreement, the EU must increase its ambition for the next ten years and adapt its climate and energy policy,” said the decision of the EU summit. In this context, the EU Commission’s proposal was discussed to reduce greenhouse gases by 55 percent below the 1990 level by 2030. A decision should be made by the end of the year.
Chancellor Angela Merkel had set herself behind the 55 percent target at the beginning of the summit. The CDU politician said it would be important if the member states of the European Union agreed to commit to this goal by December. “At least that’s what Germany will do.” So far, the target has been minus 40 percent.
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