Navigating Political and Economic Crises: EU Leaders’ Response to Russia and China

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Despite an already packed agenda, European leaders gathered in Brussels will be called upon to express their views on recent events in Russia and relations with China. In the first case, they will have to assess their strategy in relation to the war in Ukraine. In the second case, they will need to decide on a European stance that already appears distinct from the Anglo-American one.

Brussels, 29 June 2023 – 6 MIN READING

Behind the official agenda of the European Council, see at the bottom, there may be additional discussions and considerations that are not explicitly mentioned in the official Agenda:

1. Current Events and Crises: The European Council may address specific foreign policy issues or crises that have emerged since the previous meeting. These could include developments in global conflicts, international relations, or geopolitical challenges that require immediate attention and coordination among EU leaders. This is the case of the aborted mutiny in Russia.

2. Internal EU Challenges: Apart from the stated agenda items, EU leaders may also discuss internal challenges faced by the European Union. This could include discussions on institutional reforms, strengthening EU governance, addressing democratic deficits, or resolving disputes between member states.

3. Policy Priorities: Each member state may bring its own policy priorities to the table, seeking support or cooperation from other member states. These priorities could range from economic policies, social issues, environmental concerns, or specific regional or national interests that require EU-level coordination.

4. Future of the European Union: The European Council meetings often serve as platforms for broader discussions on the future direction and priorities of the European Union. Leaders may exchange views on topics such as EU integration, the future of the Eurozone, deepening cooperation in specific areas, or the role of the EU in global affairs.

5. Negotiations and Diplomacy: The European Council provides an opportunity for leaders to coordinate their positions on ongoing negotiations, such as trade agreements, international treaties, or EU-level legislation. Discussions may focus on aligning strategies, resolving differences, or formulating common positions to strengthen the EU’s stance in international negotiations. This could be occupied by EU-China relations

6. Informal Networking and Bilateral Meetings: The European Council meetings also facilitate informal networking and bilateral meetings among leaders. These interactions allow for the exchange of views, building alliances, and addressing specific concerns or issues between member states.

It’s important to note that the discussions and decisions in the European Council are confidential and not always publicly disclosed. Therefore, the complete range of topics and discussions that take place behind the scenes may not be known to the public unless officially released or leaked.


Some of the hot points in the official Agenda and to be debated during the European Council meeting on 29-30 June 2023 are:

1. Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine: EU leaders will discuss the latest developments in the conflict and the continued support of the EU to Ukraine, including financial and military aid.

2. Economy: The leaders will follow up on past conclusions regarding EU industrial policy, the single market, and Europe’s long-term competitiveness and productivity. They will discuss how to strengthen economic security and resilience, including completing the single market and addressing vulnerabilities exposed by recent crises.

3. Security and Defence: EU leaders will assess the progress made in implementing past conclusions, such as the Versailles Declaration, which aims to bolster the EU’s defence capabilities, and the Strategic Compass, which defines actions to protect EU interests and European citizens. They will give further guidance on procurement, investment, and production in the security and defence sector. EU-NATO cooperation will also be discussed ahead of the upcoming NATO summit.

4. Migration: The Council presidency and the European Commission will update the European Council on the progress of implementing recent conclusions on migration. The focus will be on increased external action, effective control of external borders, and internal aspects of migration and asylum policy.

5. External Relations: EU leaders will hold a strategic discussion on China and prepare for the upcoming EU-CELAC summit in Brussels, which will bring together leaders from the EU and the regional bloc of Latin America and Caribbean states. Other specific foreign policy issues may also be addressed based on current events.

These topics reflect the key areas of concern and priority for the European Union at the time of the meeting. The discussions and decisions made during the European Council will have implications for EU policies and actions in these areas and could ask Commission to provide new initiatives.

See all the conclusions of the European Council summits

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