08 December 2020
A draft copy of the conclusions of the European Council meeting due to be held this Thursday and Friday includes statements on COVID-19, climate change, security, and relations with the USA and the "Southern Neighbourhood" - but, at the moment, nothing about Brexit. The UK and EU are engaged in last-minute talks to try to agree a trade deal, which will need to be approved by the European Council (and the European Parliament) if it is to take effect at the beginning of 2021.
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NOTE from: General Secretariat of the Council to: Council: European Council meeting (10 and 11 December 2020) - Draft conclusions (11981/20, LIMITE, 7 December 2020, pdf):
"In accordance with Article 3(1) of the Rules of Procedure of the European Council, delegations will find attached the draft conclusions prepared by the President of the European Council, in close cooperation with the member of the European Council representing the Member State holding the six-monthly Presidency of the Council [currently Germany] and with the President of the Commission."
On COVID-19, the draft states that "the arrival of vaccines does not mean the pandemic is over. The epidemiological situation in Europe remains worrying," and that work needs to be done for the future:
"The European Council highlights the need to pursue work to increase resilience in the area of health, including by taking forward the proposals for a Health Union and making full use of the potential of health data in Europe."
On climate change:
"...the European Council endorses a binding EU target of a net domestic reduction of at least 55 % in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 compared to 1990. It calls on the co-legislators to reflect this new target in the European Climate Law proposal and to adopt the latter swiftly."
"The European Council calls for the following:
– stepping up the fight against illegal content online. In that regard it looks forward to an ambitious Commission proposal to reinforce the responsibilities of online platforms under the Digital Services Act;
– swiftly adopting the proposal on addressing the dissemination of terrorist content online;
– ensuring that religious education and training are in line with European fundamental rights and values, and addressing foreign influencing of national civil and religious organisations through non-transparent financing;
supporting initiatives to better understand the spread of extremist ideologies. Europe-wide comprehensive exchanges of scientific knowledge, research and expertise must be enhanced."
The draft text also "stresses the need to advance work on the retention of data to combat serious crime," but makes no mention of encryption - a key topic for the German Presidency of the Council of the EU for the last few months.
The European Council also "invites the co-legislators to examine the proposal on the strengthening of Europol’s mandate," which has not yet been published, "with a view to its rapid adoption."
NOTE from: General Secretariat of the Council to: Council: European Council meeting (10 and 11 December 2020) - Draft conclusions (11981/20, LIMITE, 7 December 2020, pdf)
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