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The winter European Council reunion: conclusions


 President Klaus Iohannis participated on Thursday in the winter European Council reunion, taking place in Brussels, a context in which he supported the deepening of EU-NATO cooperation and the necessity of vigilance over the developments regarding the migration flows on the eastern Mediterranean route. 

The main themes on the agenda of the European Council were: migration management, the European Union's internal and external security, including the defence component, economic aspects as well as foreign relations of the European Union. 

On the sidelines of the European Council meeting, 27 state or government leaders reunited in an informal meeting (EU 28 minus United Kingdom), and its objective was to prepare the future negotiations with the United Kingdom, after the formal invoking of the Union's Treaty article 50. 

According to a Presidential Administration release, talks on migration focused mostly on the cooperation with origin and transit states and the assessment of progress in implementing migration cooperation frameworks with third-party countries. 

Within the Council, the decision was made to continue to support the implementation of agreements with the African countries that already have them and to examine the possibility of expanding these agreements to other migrants' origin or transit states. 

"A relevant aspect within talks, supported by the President of Romania, was the one linked to the necessity to maintain a vigilant eye on the evolutions regarding migration flows on the Eastern Mediterranean route and on the support for states on the Balkans route, so as to avoid its reactivation," the release shows. 

The talks in the Council also focused on the possibilities to consolidate the EU's actions in the defence and security domain. EU member state leaders agreed that supplementary efforts are necessary in order to enhance the Union's security and to advance the European policy in the defence and security domain. 

In this context, the head of Romania mentioned that it is important to capitalize on the current opportunities to consolidate the response to security challenges, through deepening the EU-NATO cooperation and the full implementation of the set of concrete measures to enforce the EU-NATO Declaration adopted at the Warsaw Summit. 

"Romania's stand, reiterated during these talks, is in favour of ensuring complete complementarity of cooperation at EU level with NATO level actions, so as to avoid doubling efforts and costs of defence actions," the release mentions. 

The meeting also tackled the economic evolutions at European level, the objectives promoted by Romania referring to the implementation of the Internal Market Strategies, including the Strategy for the Unique Digital Market. 

"The President of Romania supported the reflection, in the conclusions of the European Council, of the objectives related to the completion of the Energy Union, in respect of the right of member-states to set their own energetic mix," the Presidential Administration's release states. 

The text of the conclusions adopted the propositions of a group of member-states, including Romania, to include the industrial policy among the strategic objectives of the Union for the coming period, given its role in consolidating the economic growth at European level. 

Talks on foreign relations of the Union focused specifically on Ukraine, Syria and the Russian Federation. As regards Ukraine, conclusions of the European Council were adopted that reaffirm all member-states' commitment in favour of the full application, as soon as possible, of the Association Agreement and the EU-Ukraine Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area agreement (DCFTA). 

A Decision was also adopted, which defines the "Common understanding" of certain aspects of the Agreement. 

"If a member state hasn't finalized the ratification procedure, the adoption of this decision created the conditions for finalizing the ratification of the Agreement by all EU member-states and its entry into force. The solution adopted will not entail the modification of the Agreement or restarting the ratification process in the EU member-states, aspects also supported by Romania. At the same time, the solution does not alter the main objective of the Agreement, that is to consolidate relations between the EU and Ukraine," the release says. 

Within talk about the evolutions in Syria, the leaders of member-states firmly condemned the continuation of Aleppo siege. In this context, president Klaus Iohannis and the other European leaders reiterated the importance of politically inclusive politics to end tragedies in Syria, by involving regional actors in the process. 

As regards the Russian Federation, the EU extended by six months its sanctions, starting with January 31 2017, given the lack of progress in implementing the provisions of the Minsk agreements. 

Talks reuniting the 27 leaders (EU 28 minus United Kingdom) on Brexit ended with the adoption of a declaration that presents the procedural steps in the EU 27 format for starting future negotiations with the UK.