A European summit burdened with “worries”… Ukraine, neighborhood and energy are on the table
In an increasingly complex international circumstance and inflation that is eating people’s pockets, European leaders will hold their last summit in Brussels in 2022, Thursday.
And at exactly 8 am European local time, European leaders begin flocking to the bloc’s headquarters in Brussels, hoping to reach consensus that ends economic and political suffering in the immediate neighborhood.
The European summit comes on the eve of the European Union-Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit, which also took place in Brussels, in conjunction with the celebrations of the 45th anniversary of relations between the two sides.
In a letter received by European leaders a few days ago, Charles Michel, President of the European Council, said: “We are meeting in Brussels this week for two meetings: the commemorative summit of the European Union and ASEAN on Wednesday, December 14, and our European Council the next day.”
He continued, “The meeting of the European Union and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations will give us an opportunity to exchange views on our strategic partnership and discuss important issues of common interest, including security challenges, communication, trade, green and digital transformations, and food security.”
He added, saying: “Our European Council on Thursday, December 15, will be a one-day meeting. We will focus on strategic issues in which our unity will be essential.”
“Ukraine, as always, is at the heart of our concerns… Russia’s massive military escalation since October 10, with its repeated targeting of Ukraine’s vital installations and energy infrastructure, has caused massive damage to Ukraine’s power grid. Millions of civilians have been left behind,” he said. Without electricity, heating or running water.
“The situation, which is exacerbated by snowfall and sub-zero temperatures, requires an appropriate response from us, including in terms of preparedness and humanitarian assistance,” he said.
Michel also said that “in addition to the immediate needs of the country, there is also a need for a substantive discussion on how to ensure the sustainability of our military and financial support to Ukraine.”
He then moved on to another topic. “This year has fundamentally transformed our energy landscape and made it clearer than ever that we need to work together,” he said.
“Ensuring security of supply and lowering prices for citizens and businesses remains our top priority. Against this background, we will review the progress made since October and provide further guidance.”
He also said in this context, “Our new energy horizon has had spillover effects on our economy… Our future growth prospects depend not only on how well we manage the energy shock in the short term, but also on the ability of our industries to remain competitive.” And our ability to innovate and invest in the technologies of tomorrow.”
“So we will focus on how we can better manage our coordinated political response, including support for common European solutions,” he added.
Western Balkans Profile
In another file, Michel said, “We will hold a strategic discussion on the southern neighborhood and follow up on the recent summit with the countries of the Western Balkans in Tirana. This will provide us with an opportunity to discuss the multifaceted aspects of our cooperation with these countries, including immigration.”
Michel’s speech to European leaders greatly revealed the agenda of the European summit, namely the war in Ukraine, economy and energy, security and defense, European Neighborhood Policy, and foreign relations with a focus on trans-Atlantic relations (relationships with Washington).
All European leaders will participate in the summit, led by French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Schultz, Italian Prime Minister Giorga Meloni, Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer, and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.
The summit comes tomorrow, Thursday, after the revelation of a resounding corruption scandal that struck the European Parliament, the legislative authority in the bloc, and related to the obtaining of funds by a vice-president of the Council in exchange for influencing its decisions.