EU Council meeting (15 and 16 October 2020)

Conclusions adopted by the EU Council at the meeting held on 15 and 16 October 2020.

Related to the future UK-EU Trade negotiations …


4. The European Council recalls that the transition period will end on 31 December 2020 and notes with concern that progress on the key issues of interest to the Union is still not sufficient
for an agreement to be reached.

5. The European Council reaffirms the Union’s determination to have as close as possible a partnership with the United Kingdom on the basis of the negotiating directives of 25 February 2020, while respecting the previously agreed European Council guidelines, as
well as statements and declarations, notably those of 25 November 2018, in particular as regards the level playing field, governance and fisheries.

6. Against this background, the European Council invites the Union’s chief negotiator to continue negotiations in the coming weeks, and calls on the UK to make the necessary moves to make an agreement possible.

7. As regards the Internal Market Bill tabled by the UK government, the European Council recalls that the Withdrawal Agreement and its Protocols must be fully and timely implemented.

8. The European Council calls upon Member States, Union institutions and all stakeholders to step up their work on preparedness and readiness at all levels and for all outcomes, including that of no agreement, and invites the Commission, in particular, to give timely consideration to unilateral and time-limited contingency measures that are in the EU’s interest.

9. The European Council will remain seized of the matter.


Seized of a matter. Seised or seized comes from the French verb saisir and means to grasp, seize or grip. In the legal context it means that an entity, usually a court, has decided that it will consider a legal matter or issue falling within its jurisdiction. In this case it probably means that the EU Council “reserves the right to reconsider”

Ursula von der Leyen (@vonderleyen) tweeted:

“EU-UK talks: the EU continues to work for a deal, but not at any price. As planned, our negotiation team will go to London next week to intensify these negotiations.”

David Frost (@DavidGHFrost) tweeted:

1/3 Disappointed by the #EUCO conclusions on UK/EU negotiations. Surprised EU is no longer committed to working “intensively” to reach a future partnership as agreed with
@vonderleyen on 3 October.

2/3 Also surprised by suggestion that to get an agreement all future moves must come from UK. It’s an unusual approach to conducting a negotiation.

3/3 PM @BorisJohnson will set out UK reactions and approach tomorrow in the light of his statement of 7 September.

Angela Merkel said that she

“hopes British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will continue to engage in constructive negotiations that could lead to a deal. As long as we don’t have a deal we always have the option to consider how things would be without an agreement. I still think it is better to get a deal but not at any price.”


“We have called on Great Britain to continue to be willing to compromise for the sake of an agreement. That of course includes that we also must make compromises.”

Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron/ tweeted:

“In view of Brexit, the British need a deal more than the European Union. The Europeans are ready to continue negotiations. Our conditions are clear and known. It is now up to the UK to choose whether or not it wants a deal.”

also stated

“if there is no deal between the U.K. and the EU, Britain would no longer have access to Europe’s single energy market and that would cost more than €1 billion per year … bad deal for the U.K.”

and finally …

No mobile phones are allowed during the discussion on Brexit.

Council President Charles Michel “has requested to guarantee confidentiality on a sensitive issue”. The discussion is held under strict confidentiality conditions and leaders don’t have access to their mobile phones in order to keep leaders discussions on Brexit confidential