Budget, Climate, Vaccines: the EU Summit finds a compromise

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On 10 and 11 December, EU leaders met in Brussels for the last European Council of the year.


This year they already met 10 times, in regular, special and videoconference meetings, essentially for urgent matters related to the pandemic. Here all the conclusions.

This time, they discussed a very long and sensitive agenda. In particular:

  • Further coordination on COVID-19
  • Climate Change
  • Budget

Further coordination on COVID-19

EU leaders discussed the EU general coordination in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and, in particular, the preparations for national vaccination campaigns.

The vaccines authorised by the European Medicines Agency undergo a scrupulous EU authorisation process. The first authorisation could be issued on December 21th. Meanwhile, the European Council will continue to strengthen the coordination at EU level and in particular on testing strategies, as well as gradual lifting of the current restrictions.

To prepare this discussion, the German presidency published a progress report on EU coordination in response to COVID-19 last 4 December 2020.

The German presidency points of discussion:

  • mutual recognition of tests
  • the use of rapid antigen tests
  • a common European passenger locator form
  • interoperability of tracing apps

Climate change

EU leaders discussed on a new EU emissions reduction target for 2030.  EU leaders did find an agreement on a CO2 reduction of 55% by end of 2030. This decision has been submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

As for the emissions reduction targets for 2050, Poland has blocked the discussion, which will resume in 2021. However, Poland’s position has met with favor with many countries, which fear that they will have to pay too high prices if they follow the ambitions of the European Commission.



The adoption of the EU budget was somewhat conditioned to the question of safeguarding the rule of law in EU countries, given the challenge to Poland and Hungary. The proposal of the European Commission on the ambitious goals to fight the climate change also depended on the adoption of the 2021-2027 Multiannual Financial Framework  and of the 2021 budget, since massive investments are needed to achieve them.

After grueling negotiations of which eEuropa has been informed, Chancellor Merkel has obtained the green light from Poland and Hungary for the adoption of the budget and therefore the confirmation of a 55% reduction in CO2 by 2030.

The compromise temporarily lightened the position of defendants from Poland and Hungary, postponing the examination and judgment procedure for those two countries to a future Commission proposal.

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