Leaders close 2020 with pacts on the European fund and climate, but with Brexit close to breaking


The last summit of the year of heads of State and Government of the European Union has settled with important agreements on economic and climate matters, thanks to the pact that unlocks the community budget and the recovery fund and the new emission reduction objective, but it has also served to confirm that a Brexit without a trade agreement between Brussels and London is increasingly likely.

The meeting began after 1:00 p.m. this Thursday and has lasted until 10:30 a.m. this Friday in what has been a “marathon” of more than twenty hours to resolve “many difficult and important issues for the future of the EU.” , as stated by the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, in the press conference after the meeting.

The main focus of the summit was on the blockage that existed on the budget package and the recovery fund due to the veto of Hungary and Poland. These two countries rejected the new system of conditionality that provides for the suspension of European aid to a country that violates the principles of the rule of law.

But this matter was practically settled at the summit thanks to an agreement that Germany, as the rotating presidency of the EU, reached with these two partners to unblock the situation. This pact has been validated by the rest of the partners and includes a series of guarantees to assure Warsaw and Budapest that the mechanism will not be used to pressure them on other policies such as migration and that it will not be used until the European Justice has ruled on its legality.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has emphasized the “great relief” represented by the agreement to unlock the budget package after the “enormous” effort that has been necessary to deploy in recent weeks. European aid, he recalled, must arrive “as soon as possible” in the capitals.

In addition to his role in this matter, the Polish Prime Minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, has also been the protagonist of the other great theme of the meeting: the negotiation to raise the block’s emissions reduction target from 40 percent to 50 percent by 2030 Both he and his Czech colleague Andrej Babis have forced the heads of state and government to spend the night negotiating this matter.

Finally, the Twenty-seven have resolved their demands thanks to a text in which they underline that “the starting point of each country” will be taken into account to distribute efforts among community partners and that includes a reference to the role that “technologies will play. transition “like gas.

In any case, the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, has celebrated that the new level of ambition represents European values ​​such as intergenerational solidarity and the generation of sustainable employment. In his opinion, Europe “cannot lag behind” and regain its position in the transformations that will mark the current century. “We have a great opportunity not to miss this train and to be at the forefront of these changes,” he said.


Another issue that has crept onto the leaders’ agenda has been the state of negotiations between Brussels and London to agree on their commercial relationship in the post-Brexit stage. But in this case, the Twenty-seven have preferred to keep a low profile and have avoided a substantive debate on this issue.

This point lasted barely ten minutes, practically the time it took for the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, to transfer the prime ministers that the main obstacles remain and that today it is more likely that the negotiations to have an agreement in time for the separation on December 31. After her, only Sánchez, the Irishman Micheál Martin and the Luxembourgian Xavier Bettel took the floor.

However, the president of France, Emmanuel Macron, has defended in a press conference that even if the negotiations fail, the scenario will not be that of a “disorderly” divorce because the United Kingdom has already agreed with the bloc the conditions of divorce in the Treaty of Withdrawal, which will avoid a chaotic exit.

Another thing, he said, is the future relationship, on which he has hoped that an agreement will be reached that preserves the interests of Europeans and British, because, he added, “geography is stubborn and we will continue to live side by side. “.


Before heading into an evening dedicated to the new climate goal, the Heads of State and Government had time to address a number of issues related to Foreign Affairs.

Notable in this area is the agreement to respond to Turkey’s provocations in the eastern Mediterranean by expanding the list of those penalized for Turkish gas exploration. They have also commissioned the head of European diplomacy, Josep Borrell, to study more measures for a new review of the situation in March.

Although all member states arrived at the December meeting recognizing the need to respond to Turkish provocations, the leaders have sought a balance to keep the door open to Ankara for a positive agenda.

In addition, the Twenty-seven have held a strategic debate on cooperation with the new US administration that Joe Biden will lead, with which they hope to bring closer positions on matters such as the global response to the coronavirus, the need to tackle climate change or the economic boost after the crisis caused by the pandemic.


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