Press Releases Invitation letter by President Charles Michel to the members of the European Council

Invitation letter by President Charles Michel to the members of the European Council

Dear colleagues,

Into the third year of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, we face a pivotal moment. Urgency, intensity and unwavering determination are imperative. Our foremost task is the swift provision of military aid to Ukraine and, building on recent initiatives like that of Czechia, the fast-track procurement and delivery of ammunition to Ukraine. This European Council will be an opportunity to strengthen and accelerate those efforts. Additionally, we must focus on effectively implementing and enforcing our sanctions, as well as advancing our efforts on the use of windfall profits from immobilised assets.

This is also a time for a real paradigm shift in relation to our security and defence. For decades, Europe has not invested enough in its security and defence. Now that we are facing the biggest security threat since the Second World War, it is high time we take radical and concrete steps to be defence-ready and put the EU’s economy on a “war footing”. This means spending more, and buying more jointly, thus more efficiently. We must also help the defence industry access private and public funds, and reduce regulatory burdens and barriers. Building this strategic security mindset require strong leadership and an acute understanding of the urgency of the threats we face. I expect our European Council to live up to this.

It is imperative that we address the situation in the Middle East. The atrocities of the October 7th attacks and the ensuing war in Gaza have crossed the brink of inhumanity. Too many civilians have perished. Too many innocent lives are at risk because of the catastrophic humanitarian situation in Gaza and raging famine. International law needs to be fully respected. A sustainable ceasefire is urgently needed to protect civilians, allow the hostages to return safely and ensure that humanitarian assistance can be delivered as needed. Our efforts to prevent regional escalation need to be stepped-up, especially in Lebanon and the Red Sea. Ultimately, the European Union remains committed to a just and comprehensive resolution between Israelis and Palestinians, with the State of Israel and a democratic, sovereign, and viable State of Palestine, living side by side in peace and security and mutual recognition.

Our attention will also focus on agriculture. Our European farmers have voiced their concerns loud and clear. We need to act decisively on the challenges they face. This means taking stock of the work carried out so far and ensuring that progress is made without delay, particularly with regard to the position of farmers in the food supply chain and to fair competition, both within the internal market and globally.

I also suggest we take stock of preparations for enlargement and reforms, bearing in mind that the two strands need to advance in parallel to ensure that both future Member States and the EU are ready by the time of accession.

We will also review the state of play of migration and address various external relations matters.

At the Euro Summit on Friday, we will be joined by the Presidents of the European Central Bank and of the Eurogroup to discuss the economic and financial situation and the continued close coordination and governance of our macroeconomic policies. It is high time to reassert our strong determination to make decisive progress towards a deeper Capital Markets Union, building on the measures set out by the Eurogroup in inclusive format.

I look forward to welcoming you on Thursday.

Invitation letter by President Charles Michel

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