News BlogEconomy Euro zone

What should be remembered from the European Summit?

(credit: EU Council)
(credit: Council of the EU)

(B2) In an unusual way, the Summit scheduled for 2 days ended, earlier than expected, Thursday evening, a little before midnight, well served by strong agricultural pressure. Two main subjects were on the agenda: the establishment of the Strategic Investment Fund, intended to relaunch the European economy. And the situation in Ukraine and Russia.

  1. The first summit of the little newbies

This summit was the first for the new European Union: the President of the Council, the Pole Donald Tusk, the President of the Commission, the Luxembourger Jean-Claude Juncker, and the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs, the Italian Federica Mogherini. For Donald Tusk, it was about experiencing what he calls a “ new working method ". That is to say, as a European diplomat explained. " Fewer topics on the agenda. Tighter conclusions — only 4 pages instead of the usual 15-20 pages —. And a “strategic” debate around the dinner, without advisers around them, or minutes to write. All finished before midnight. » The former Prime Minister succeeded in his bet, helped by a fairly weak agenda and a very strong incentive... Belgian farmers had promised to block the European district on Friday. Word kept. The European district was completely blocked this Friday until the early hours of the afternoon. It would have been impossible for the heads of state and government to continue their meeting today in any case.

  1. Investing for the European economy

The “28” gave their blessing to the Strategic Investment Fund launched by the European Commission, with the ambition of mobilizing 315 billion euros. It now remains for the European executive to present a legislative proposal. Which should be done in January. With the aim of completing everything by June (which is quite quickly), “so that new investments can be activated from mid-2015”. This responds to a request from several Member States, in particular from the French President, François Hollande, who wanted “ go fast ". Beyond the technique, this Fund marks a clear inflection. This is the first time that we talk more about growth and investments than respect for the Stability Pact. " It is important that we devote time to growth recalled the Italian Prime Minister, Matteo Renzi. Recalling that the pact is " stability but also growth ". The “28” have also asked for a report from the group of 4 presidents (European Commission, European Council, Eurogroup and European Central Bank) to present ideas for strengthening the Economic and Monetary Union. Incidentally, they agreed to discuss “taxrulings” and tax evasion next June.

  • Save Ukraine and… Russia?

That was the topic of dinner. The Heads of State and Government seem aware that the sanctions against Russia are sufficient today. Nobody really wanted to add a ladle, especially at a time when the ruble was suffering a real rout. “This shows that sanctions work,” explains an expert on the “sanctions” file. “The fact that Russia is in a difficult situation from a financial point of view is not good news in itself,” stressed the chief diplomat of the European Union, Federica Mogherini. “But President Putin and the Russian leaders should think seriously about introducing a radical change in their attitude towards the rest of the world and being more cooperative,” she said publicly. What the Europeans are now asking of Moscow are specific actions, in particular “ the application of the Minsk Protocol, with the establishment of a ceasefire, the withdrawal of heavy weapons and the cessation of arms supplies and deliveries “Explained to Ouest-France a close friend of Mogherini. Europeans are also worried about the economic situation in Ukraine. " Hurry up with reforms ! the “28” said in essence to the new Ukrainian government. The needs are enormous. It will be necessary to mobilize at least 2 billion euros at European Union level to help Kyiv. It is Jean-Claude Juncker, the President of the European Commission, who has been given the task of passing the begging bowl in the Member States. But no one really wants to potty. " It is up to the European budget to pay “, growls a French diplomat, who sums up a general feeling. " Member States must also contribute says the Commission spokesperson. " The conclusions clearly mention the European Union and its member states. And we added “and other donors” The reality is that no one really has a few billion to invest in the seemingly bottomless pit of Kiev. Will Ukraine survive the winter? " There is no doubt that this winter will be the biggest challenge for Ukraine underlines Donald Tusk. " But it is also a challenge for us ". And this is likely to last. Between Russia and Ukraine It's not just a matter of a few months. This is a crisis that we will have to deal with for years. »...

Nicolas Gros-Verheyde (in Brussels)

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).