Meeting of the European Council
10/11 December 2020
An Taoiseach, Mícheál Martin, is attending a meeting of the European Council in Brussels today and tomorrow, 10 and 11 December 2020.
The meeting has a wide-ranging agenda, covering a number of issues of vital importance to Ireland and the EU.
On Thursday it will discuss Covid-19, including the rollout of vaccines, and managing the pandemic over the coming holiday season.
It will also seek agreement to move forward with the €1.8 trillion budget and recovery package, agreed in July, that will help drive the EU’s economic recovery.
On climate action, the European Council is due to agree to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030 as part of the UN Paris climate process.
President of the Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, is also expected to brief Leaders on her dinner with British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, yesterday evening, offering her assessment of prospects for a trade agreement with the UK.
Over dinner, leaders will consider the EU’s important strategic relationship with the US, including under the new administration led by President-elect Biden. It will also discuss Turkey and its role in the Eastern Mediterranean, including considering whether to extend sanctions in light of continuing Turkish activity in the region.
Tomorrow, the European Council will discuss relations with its neighbours on the Southern Mediterranean.
Leaders will then meet as the Euro Summit, at which they will be briefed by ECB President, Christine Lagarde, on economic developments and by Minister Pascal Donohoe, as President of the Eurogroup.
Speaking ahead of the meeting, the Taoiseach said:
I am looking forward to discussing this forward-looking agenda with colleagues. Along with considering how we manage the Covid-19 pandemic over Christmas, we will be looking ahead to the rollout of vaccines and to ensuring the fund we agreed in July is in place to support Europe’s economic recovery. Climate action will be an important driver of that recovery, and I hope that we will agree to reduce our emissions by at least 55% by 2030.
I don’t expect a lengthy discussion of Brexit, but I do look forward to hearing an assessment from President von der Leyen of where things stand after her meeting with the British Prime Minister. I believe agreement is possible, if the political will is there. A positive outcome would be a win for everyone, for the EU, for the UK and most importantly for all of our citizens.
I also look forward to contributing to our discussion on EU-US relations. With the new administration there is an opportunity to renew and refresh our focus. Ireland is well placed to play an active and positive role on this.