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EU Council nominates new leaders

EU leaders discussed and agreed on nominations for the EU’s top jobs at the Special European Council on 30 June, 1 and 2 July 2019 in Brussels.

The European Council nominated Charles Michel as President of the European Council. The President of the European Council is elected for the period from 1 December 2019 until 31 May 2022. The mandate of two and a half years of the President of the European Council is renewable once. The European Council also welcomed the decision of the Heads of State or Government of the Member States whose currency is the euro to appoint Charles Michel as President of the Euro Summit, for the same term of office.

The European Council adopted the decision proposing Ursula von der Leyen to the European Parliament as candidate for President of the European Commission. The proposed candidate will need to be elected by the European Parliament by a majority of its component members.

The European Council also considered Josep Borrell Fontelles to be the appropriate candidate for High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. The formal appointment of the High Representative by the European Council requires the agreement of the President-elect of the Commission.

The President of the Commission, the High Representative and the other members of the Commission will be subject as a body to a vote of consent by the European Parliament, before the formal appointment by the European Council. Their term of office will last 5 years from the end of the current Commission until 31 October 2024.

The European Council also considered Christine Lagarde to be the appropriate candidate for President of the European Central Bank. The European Council will take a formal decision on the appointment on the basis of a Council recommendation, after having consulted the European Parliament and the ECB’s Governing Council. The mandate for the President of the European Central Bank is for 8 years non-renewable.

PM statement on EU Council Meeting

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Prime Minister Theresa May’s statement to the House of Commons on the EU Council meeting, held on 20-21 June 2019

Mr Speaker, before I turn to the European Council, I am sure the whole House will join me in sending our very best wishes to the former Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott. All our thoughts are with him and his family at this time – and we wish him a full and speedy recovery.

Mr Speaker, last week’s European Council focused on climate change, disinformation and hybrid threats, external relations and what are known as the EU’s “Top Jobs”. The UK has always been clear that we will participate fully and constructively in all EU discussions for as long as we are a Member State – and that we will seek to continue our co-operation on issues of mutual interest through our future relationship after we have left. And that was the spirit in which I approached this Council.

Mr Speaker, earlier this month the UK became the first major economy in the world to commit to ending its contribution to global warming by 2050. And I am pleased that the regulations to amend the 2008 Climate Change Act – which are being debated in this Chamber later today – have received widespread support from across this House. But ultimately we will only protect our planet if we are able to forge the widest possible global agreements. That means other countries need to follow our lead and increase their ambitions as well.

At this Council the UK helped to lead the way in advocating for our European partners to follow suit in committing to a net zero target by 2050. While a full EU-wide consensus was not reached, “a large majority” of Member States did agree that “climate neutrality must be achieved by 2050”. And I hope we can build on this in the months ahead.

Remarks by Donald Tusk after the EU Council meeting on 21 June 2019

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Remarks by President Donald Tusk after the EU Council meeting on 21 June 2019

Extract from remarks by President Donald Tusk after the Euro summit meeting on 21 June 2019

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At the end of our meeting, the EU27 briefly came back to the issue of Brexit. We have agreed on the following, united approach of the EU27:

– we look forward to working together with the next UK Prime Minister;

– we want to avoid a disorderly Brexit and establish a future relationship that is as close as possible with the UK;

– we are open for talks when it comes to the Declaration on the future UK-EU relations if the position of the United Kingdom were to evolve, but the Withdrawal Agreement is not open for renegotiation; and

– we have been informed on the state of play of planning for a no-deal scenario.

EU Commission to make €50million available to Irish beef farmers

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On the 20 June 2019, the EU Commission, in a press release, stated that €50 million would be made available to Irish beef farmers and this can be matched by national funds to reach a maximum of €100 million.

(Is this State Aid to subsidise Irish Beef Farmers ?)

The establishment of the fund reflects the Commission recognition of the particular challenges facing the Irish beef and veal sector due to market uncertainty and an unprecedented and sustained period of low prices. This exceptional measure, provided under the Common Market Organisation of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), will offer support to the Irish farmers affected.

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Ireland’s beef and veal sector is both large and hugely dependent on exports. Five of every six tonnes of beef produced is exported and almost 50% of these exports are to the United Kingdom. Uncertainty around the withdrawal of the United Kingdom is putting downward pressure on prices, deteriorating further the situation of beef producers in Ireland

Full Press Release is available at

Member States agree to Commission proposal to support Irish beef producers impacted by market uncertainty

ip-19-3324_en_200619 (pdf)

EU Commission takes stock of preparations ahead of the June EU Council (Article 50)

On the 12 June 2019, the EU Commission issued a Press Release on preparations for the UK leaving the EU without a deal.

Ahead of the June European Council (Article 50), the European Commission has today taken stock – in its fifth Brexit Preparedness Communication – of the European Union’s Brexit preparedness and contingency measures, particularly in light of the decision taken on 11 April by the European Council (Article 50), at the request of and in agreement with the United Kingdom, to extend the Article 50 period to 31 October 2019.

In light of the continued uncertainty in the United Kingdom regarding the ratification of the Withdrawal Agreement – as agreed with the UK government in November 2018 – and the overall domestic political situation, a ‘no-deal’ scenario on 1 November 2019 very much remains a possible, although undesirable, outcome.

Since December 2017, the European Commission has been preparing for a ‘no-deal’ scenario. To date, the Commission has tabled 19 legislative proposals, 18 of which have been adopted by the European Parliament and Council. Political agreement has been reached on the remaining proposal – the contingency Regulation on the EU budget for 2019 –, which is expected to be formally adopted later this month. The Commission has also adopted 63 non-legislative acts and published 93 preparedness notices. In light of the extension of the Article 50 period, the Commission has screened all these measures to ensure that they continue to meet their intended objectives.

The Commission has concluded that there is no need to amend any measures on substance and that they remain fit for purpose. The Commission does not plan any new measures ahead of the new withdrawal date.

The Commission recalls that it is the responsibility of all stakeholders to prepare for all scenarios. Given that a ‘no-deal’ scenario remains a possible outcome, the Commission strongly encourages all stakeholders to take advantage of the extra time provided by the extension to ensure that they have taken all necessary measures to prepare for the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. Today’s Communication provides details on the extensive preparations in the EU27 in areas such as citizens’ residence and social security entitlements, customs and taxation, transport, fishing, financial services as well as medicinal products, medical devices and chemical substances.

In a ‘no-deal’ scenario, the UK will become a third country without any transitional arrangements. All EU primary and secondary law will cease to apply to the UK from that moment onwards. There will be no transition period, as provided for in the Withdrawal Agreement. This will obviously cause significant disruption for citizens and businesses and would have a serious negative economic impact, which would be proportionally much greater in the United Kingdom than in the EU27 Member States.

Full details at

‘No-deal’ Brexit: European Commission takes stock of preparations ahead of the June European Council (Article 50)

EU-press-release_IP-19-2951_en (pdf)

Other associated documents:

Communication From The Commission To The European Parliament, The European Council, The Council, The European Central Bank, The European Economic And Social Committee, The Committee Of The Regions And The European Investment Bank

EU_Preparations_DOC_1 (pdf)

ANNEX 1 to the Communication From The Commission To The European Parliament, The European Council, The Council, The European Central Bank, The European Economic And Social Committee, The Committee Of The Regions And The European Investment Bank

EU_Preparations_DOC_2 (pdf)

ANNEX 2 to the Communication From The Commission To The European Parliament, The European Council, The Council, The European Central Bank, The European Economic And Social Committee, The Committee Of The Regions And The European Investment Bank

EU_Preparations_DOC_3 (pdf)

It is also worth noting that if the UK leaves without an agreed deal with the EU, that they would insist on some pre-conditions prior to discussing a future trade agreement with the UK:

As outlined by President Juncker in the European Parliament on 3 April 2019, should a ‘no-deal’ scenario occur, the UK would be expected to address three main separation issues as a precondition before the EU would consider embarking on discussions about the future relationship:

These are:

(1) Protecting and upholding the rights of citizens who have used their right to free movement before Brexit,

(2) Honouring the financial obligations the UK has made as a Member State and

(3) Preserving the letter and spirit of the Good Friday Agreement and peace on the island of Ireland, as well as the integrity of the internal market.

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