Critical: what the outcome of the negotiations of EU leaders in Bratislava


Heavy recognition

“We are now in a critical situation. We are talking about getting actions to show that we can become better, ” said German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday morning, before the informal meeting of EU leaders in Bratislava. — The message from the summit should be: we want to cooperate and want to solve the existing European problems”.

With these words in the capital of Slovakia, opened the summit of 27 heads of state and government of the EU. Being essentially a summit of the European Council, in official documents he is called “informal meeting”, as held in the format of “28 minus one”, without the British Prime Minister Theresa may.

Extraordinary Congress in Bratislava, the head of the European Council Donald Tusk announced on 29 June, a few days after the referendum on the British exit from the EU. Before beginning the process of leaving the UK and remaining countries of the Continent must consolidate negotiating positions. Formally, this was a stated goal of the summit of the 27 leaders.

In fact Tusk was going to devote most of the meeting discussing the future of the EU without the UK. In the invitation letter to the summit he noted: it would be a fatal mistake to assume that the victory of eurosceptics in the referendum — a purely British phenomenon. Tusk admitted that the disappointment of the Europeans in the EU as the structure grows, and migration crisis was the trigger for a multitude of contradictions.

“For the first time in decades, the highest European leaders publicly suggested the possibility of the disintegration and collapse of the European Union”, — told the publication Politico expert Marshall Fund and former official of the European Commission, Michael Lee. Thus, trying to treat not the symptoms but the disease itself, Tusk has identified the three most dangerous to the existence of EU issues, which were discussed at the summit. Illegal migration (and the protection of borders of the EU as a whole), terrorism and the fear of globalization among the population (in fact, euroscepticism).

Road map

In fact, in six minutes his final speech to the press, Tusk has been devoted to the problem of Brexit only a few introductory phrases. The main part of his message concerned the future of the European Union. “The feeling that many Europeans feel unsafe, absolutely real. Now we need to correct the mistakes of the past and move forward,” — said Tusk. Thoughts of the EU he expressed in the so-called Bratislava road map.

The main message of Tusk: less promises and more concrete action. Since the main threat to the existence of the EU stems from the strong eurosceptic sentiment, each of the three priority areas of work refers either to national issues (on what playing the right-wing radicals), or social (what you play the left).

In terms of migration, Brussels is promising to reduce the number of illegal immigrants, strengthen border patrols (especially on the Bulgarian-Turkish border) and continue to build a common system of border security. Fighting terrorism is recognized as a prerogative of national authorities requires further strengthening and deepening of the customs inspections (including in respect of EU citizens), as well as the prevention of radicalization. Socio-economic policy will have to ensure European stability and confidence in the future. It will be directed, for example, programs to reduce unemployment, the Fund for strategic investments (EFSI) will be allocated additional funding.

To work through all these reforms, the European Union allocates to itself for about six months. As announced in a separate press conference Merkel, the formation of an action plan for the further development of the EU is planned to be completed by March 2017. A landmark will be here for the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome of March 25.

Like any “informal meeting” of the European Council, the summit ends without a written opinion. Specific solutions in these fields of migration, security and economy will be made at conferences during the next six months, the Bratislava summit is rather a declarative, symbolic role. From the point of view of growing up in Eastern Europe resentment “Brussels dictates” the choice of Slovakia as the venue of the epoch-making summit also plays a role, says British The Telegraph.

In the limelight

For the second half of 2016 fell first in the history of Slovakia’s chairmanship in the European Union. Thus, there are still five member States that have not passed yet in the rotation period of the presidency: Malta, Estonia, Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia. According to the plan, all the “newbies” will be able to visit in the chair by mid-2020.

In its first presidency of Slovakia had the honour to host the first in many years, the summit of European leaders outside Brussels, albeit not at full strength. Officially all meetings of the Council of Europe — scheduled, informal and emergency — are only in the Belgian capital since the beginning of 2010. in fact, the last such event was held outside Brussels, before in April 2009 in Prague.

As writes the newspaper The Slovak Spectrator, offer to host a meeting in Bratislava came to the summit on June 29 from the Slovakian Prime Minister Robert fico. “For Slovakia and its presidency of the summit is becoming an important opening ceremony,” — said the expert edition European Policy Centre, Jan-Sven, Rittelmeyer. According to him, it is a huge success for the country, in terms of prestige and global attention.

Moreover, the country only provides a platform and infrastructure, chaired the summit is still the head of the European Council Tusk, statements are made on behalf of the 27 leaders. In other words, in case of success, the update process of the EU meeting in Bratislava can remember as a turning point, but in the case of the failure of Slovakia is unlikely to be deemed responsible, he said Rittelmeyer.

The second went

The leaders of the EU institutions now continue their harsh rhetoric “out — so out, where they met the British referendum at the end of June. Earlier in the week, the official negotiator on Brexit from the EU was approved by former Prime Minister of Belgium, leader of the liberal parliamentary group (ALDE) of the European Parliament, guy Verhofstadt, a staunch supporter of integration and an outspoken critic of skeptics.

“Brexit must be held before 2019, when the EU starts a new political cycle, and the European Parliament will renew his mandate,” wrote Verhofstadt in his Twitter. The authority of the current convocation of the European Parliament expires in July 2019, elections should be held in may-June. Since article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty measures in the negotiation process on the exit of a member country of the EU is not more than two years, an application for withdrawal from the British government is waiting for Brussels by the summer of 2017.

Accordingly, while favorable developments should be completed and prepared the two parties to negotiate. Touched on this issue in his speech and Tusk, hinting in his speech that Brussels is waiting for a formal bid from London in January-February 2017, that is, until events to mark the anniversary of the Treaty of Rome. “We are ready to start negotiations tomorrow, but we respect the need for Britain to take a break”, — said the head of the European Council.

However, at this point, the EU may be on the verge of losing another member. On Tuesday, the foreign Minister of Luxembourg Jean Asselborn in an interview with German Die Welt urged to exclude from the EU to Hungary for the systematic violation of the principles of the EU. “Anyone who, like Hungary, builds fortifications against war refugees who violates the principles of freedom of speech and independent court should be temporarily (if need be, and forever) are excluded from the EU”, — said the politician.

The order of forced withdrawal from the EU are spelled out in article 7 of the Lisbon Treaty. To do this, at least a third of other member States, the European Parliament or the European Commission should report to the Council of Europe on “the risks of violations of basic EU principles of” democracy, equality, freedom of speech and others. If 80% of the members of the European Council (22 and over the heads of state and government) will decide what the risk really is, begins the process of negotiations with the “guilty” member.

At some stage the Council may fix an established violation of the principles of the Union, and then by a qualified majority of 2/3 of the votes deprives the member state of his rights in the EU. Obligations “guilty” of the country remain. Unlike article 50 (voluntary withdrawal from the EU) time limits to this process are not provided.

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