Presidents and prime ministers of the EU member states met on Thursday 12 February at an informal European Council in Brussels. Debate, initially-planned lunch, had to be postponed by more than 3 hours due to the late arrival of Chancellor Merkel and President Hollande from Minsk where they tried to broker a ceasefire deal for Ukraine. The Minsk II deal was also one of the points of agenda of the European Council. President Poroshenko of Ukraine also attended the meeting. Another important point was the situation with Greece after its snap elections, with regard to its bailout program.
The main point of discussions, though, was counter-terrorism measures as a response to the Paris attacks in January. (The need for such measures was highlighted by the week-end attacks in Copenhagen.) In contrast with the 2004-5 attacks in London and Madrid, when a series of new measures had been adopted, this time the leaders called for a more thorough implementation of the existing rules and measures. In other words, all the tools to fight terrorism are in the EU legislation, they just are not used well enough. According to a study, of 88 measures on the EU level, some 50 were not implemented enough in national legislations. Therefore the European Council called for better exchange of information, better use of the existing Schengen framework – including tougher border controls on external EU borders, better cooperation in the fight against firearms trafficking and terrorist financing. Also, new efforts are needed to stop terror propagation online. As one of the crucial points, the EU leaders called on the European Parliament to quickly adopt the Passenger Name Records directive, which has been stuck there for a long time. The MEPs agreed to break the dead-lock and pass the bill by the end of this year.
26th February 2018
9th March 2018