EU leaders’ discuss Covid crisis and vaccines
On Thursday evening they will talk with US President Joe Biden on transatlantic relationsEuropost , Brussels
In the context of the raging third Covid wave in many countries of the Union, the EU leaders’ video conference started on Thursday afternoon with taking stock of the epidemiological situation. Later in the evening, the heads of state and government will also discuss transatlantic relations together with US President Joe Biden.
The single market, digital transformation, the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean, relations with Russia and the international role of the euro are also on the menu.
In his invitation letter, European Council President Charles Michel, who chairs the sittings, explained to the leaders that given recent developments with regard to the epidemiological situation in Member States, the meeting will be held on 25 and 26 March by video conference.
I am also delighted that we will be able to virtually welcome President Biden on Thursday evening, who will share his views on our future cooperation. President Michel underlined.
Talking on Covid, the EUCO President underlined that the top priority is to speed up vaccination campaigns across the EU. “To this end, the ongoing work to boost vaccine production, increase vaccine deliveries and ensure more transparency and predictability of supplies should be intensified.” The leaders will address so called Covid certificates and the international dimension.
On international matters, we want to defend our interests, uphold our values and actively contribute to shaping the global future, Michel stated adding that “Our unity is a precondition to asserting our influence”.
On Russia, he will share with leaders the outcome of his latest contacts with President Putin “in advance of a more strategic debate on the matter at our next physical European Council meeting”.
In relation to the Eastern Mediterranean, we will consider, with a view to our meeting in June, stepping up our engagement with Turkey in a phased, conditional and reversible manner, Michel explained.
The Covid-19 pandemic has made the case for our digital transition even stronger, and the need for a resilient European industry more acute, he said noting that the aim is to strike the right balance between building “our digital sovereignty and maintaining an open economy, while ensuring that nobody is left behind”.
On Friday, the virtual sitting will start with discussion on the economic and digital agenda. In an inclusive Euro Summit on the international role of the euro, will take part the Presidents of the ECB and of the Eurogroup.