"At tomorrow's meeting of the European Council, Heads of State and Government will discuss how best to remedy the situation caused by the Irish "no" vote for the Lisbon Treaty. They will endeavour to set a timetable for further work. The Presidency is convinced that a solution could be found in close cooperation with Ireland." With these words, State Secretary for European Affairs Janez Lenarčič announced one of the main topics of tomorrow's European Council, during his presentation to the European Parliament at today's plenary session. The European Council will also focus on other equally important challenges. Thus, Heads of State and Government will discuss measures to alleviate the impact of rising food and oil prices; the European perspective of the Western Balkans; and the progress made on economic, social and environmental issues. In keeping with the tradition of June summits, the meeting will also discuss issues relating to justice and home affairs and external relations.
In the discussion on food and oil prices, the European Council is expected to endorse measures to be taken within the EU and at the international level. "It is vital for the European Union to demonstrate unity in its measures for dealing with the consequences; not only with a focus on the poorest sectors of the EU population, but also in developing countries," said Mr Lenarčič. Among the long-term measures, he pointed out a timely agreement on the CAP health check; sustainability criteria for production of bio-fuels, especially second generation bio-fuels; as well as intensified work on innovation, research and development in the agricultural sector.
It is a priority of the Presidency for the European Council to stress the measures taken concerning the European perspective of the Western Balkans. "The Western Balkans is a region surrounded by EU Member States, and therefore urgently needs confirmation of its European perspective and assistance in implementing reforms. The Presidency highly values the support of the European Parliament in this respect," explained the State Secretary.
An important set of points to be discussed by the European Council will concern economic, social and environmental issues. The Presidency wishes to maintain the political momentum in discussing the climate-energy package, to achieve the ambitious goal of adopting it by the end of this year.
The European Council will take note of the agreement in the field of liberalising energy markets, which delivers on the commitment made at the March summit. A broad consensus on key elements of the legislative package for electricity and gas markets was achieved at the last meeting of the Energy Council, bringing the positions of Member States closer together. State Secretary Lenarčič judged that such an agreement represented a solid legacy for finalisation of all five acts proposed by the third legislative package for an internal energy market.
Furthermore, the European Council will review progress made in key dossiers relating to the field of migration, justice and terrorism. Regarding external relations, an important item on the agenda will be the Millennium Development Goals. Heads of State and Government will also discuss matters relating to the European Neighbourhood Policy. In this context, the summit is expected to address the issue of a new framework for cooperation in the Mediterranean – "Barcelona Process: Union for the Mediterranean" – and welcome the initiative to introduce an Eastern Partnership.
State Secretary Janez Lenarčič underlined the importance of good cooperation and exchanges of views with the European Parliament. He thanked the Members of the European Parliament for their views and debates, and the significant contribution that these discussions had made to the preparation for the forthcoming summit.