World media focus on the results of the summit of the heads of state and government of the European Union
Tashkent, Uzbekistan (UzDaily.com) -- The second summit of the heads of state and government of the European Union was held in Brussels on 15-16 October. The agenda of the meeting, which took place in the context of a sharp increase in the number of COVID-19 diseases in the EU countries, the President of the Council of Europe S. Michel included a number of urgent issues: a) the epidemiological situation; b) climatic changes; c) relations with Great Britain; d) issues of international relations.
During the last summit (on 1-2 October), foreign policy issues (Turkey, China, Belarus, Russia, Nagorno-Karabakh, Great Britain) and internal issues of the European Union (coronavirus, economy and migration) were considered.
According to experts and observers of the world media, the EU faces such complex tasks that require more frequent face-to-face meetings, despite considerations of epidemiological safety and a busy schedule.
Thus, the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen left the summit after 30 minutes after it began due to a positive test for coronavirus by one of its employees. Although U Ursula von der Leyen’s own test was negative, she immediately went to quarantine. The Prime Minister of Finland also left the summit to take tests and self-isolate, and the head of the Polish government did not attend the meeting due to being in quarantine.
In the current environment, the central issue of the EU summit was "an unprecedented and seriously alarming epidemiological situation" in European countries. The daily number of infections in Europe is growing and amounted to: on 13 October - 106 thousand cases, on 14 October - 140 thousand, on 15 October - 153 thousand. As Austrian Chancellor S. Kurz noted, all EU countries are faced with the same situation of a sharp increase in the incidence, and this "trend is the same everywhere."
In this regard, the leaders supported the need for an overall coordination effort at EU level on the pandemic. This includes the union countries agreeing on common quarantine rules, tracing cross-border contacts, testing strategies and methods, and temporary restrictions on non-essential travel within the EU.
Another important issue was the consideration of the European Commission’s proposal on a greater reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from the previously agreed 40% to at least 55% by 2030. This topic plays a strategic role in relation to the priorities of further development of the EU countries. With this in mind, the delegations agreed to participate, but taking into account national circumstances, considerations of justice and solidarity.
There is disagreement among states on reducing emissions by 55% by 2030. Several countries are already lagging behind in achieving their current 2030 energy saving commitments of 32.5%, which will increase to 40% if they agree to cut emissions by 55%.
In this regard, the European Commission was invited to hold consultations with countries to assess the situation on the ground, and the European Council - to return to the discussion of this issue at the December meeting.
In addition, the summit discussed in a harsh manner the issues of delaying negotiations on Britain’s withdrawal from the EU, as well as the situation in the Mediterranean Sea, where, according to Greece, Turkey remains consistent in its provocative and aggressive behavior in the region.
Commenting on the results of the summit, international observers note that the leaders of the European Union, based on the negative experience gained at the beginning of the pandemic, agreed to closer coordination of further epidemiological measures. Moreover, they agreed to hold weekly videoconferences to discuss joint steps in this area.
In this regard, one of the most difficult topics on which Brussels has focused is the losing perspective of the EU-UK Trade Agreement deal.
This issue has become so sensitive that, according to the British The New European, Michel asked the leaders of the EU countries to hand over their mobile phones, "to preserve the confidentiality of discussions on Brexit, from prying ears, say MI6."
Given the intransigence of the British negotiators, EU leaders have taken an uncompromising approach to the future course of the negotiations. In this context, Politico points out that against the background of unanimous support from EU leaders for a tough stance towards Great Britain and the preparation of the European Commission for a scenario of a situation without a deal, London will have to decide how much it is ready to make concessions.
In this regard, the Chinese Xinhua and Irish Belfast Telegram cite a statement by the head of the British negotiating team D. Frost that he is disappointed with the conclusions of the EU summit and surprised by the proposal that all future steps must come from the UK to reach an agreement.
In his words, "this is an unusual approach to negotiation."
The Financial Times also reported on the words of British Prime Minister B. Johnson, who warned in a televised speech that unless the EU drastically changes its approach, the UK will end the transition period on January 1 without a Trade Agreement.
Such a development of events could lead to a collapse in financial and trade operations between continental Europe and the British Isles, causing not only an economic, but also a political crisis, as well as security problems.
At the same time, Reuters cites the words of A. Merkel that in the negotiations “in some places there was movement, in others there is still a lot of work. We want an agreement, but not at any cost. It must be an honest agreement. " At the same time, the German Chancellor called on the UK to be ready for mutual compromises.
On issues of the past summit such as "climate change", Politico observers point out that Poland, the Czech Republic and Bulgaria have requested additional financial assistance. These countries are most dependent on coal mining and burning. At the same time, ANA-MPA draws attention to the fact that Paris supported Athens in the need to respond to Turkey’s resumption of exploration activities near the Greek islands in the Mediterranean.
In general, according to experts, the frequent holding of summits of the leaders of the EU countries is dictated by the rapid changes in the international situation, to which the union is not ready to oppose a single policy. In these conditions, European leaders will have to increasingly erode their fundamental principles in order to reach a compromise on current problems.