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22. 6. 2017 23:46

EU leaders discuss the steps to strengthen European security and the conditions of relocation of Union agencies from the UK

Jednání Evropské rady, 22. června 2016. Zdroj: Evropská rada.
European Council meeting, 22 June 2017. Source: European Council.
The first European Council meeting was held in Brussels on 22 June 2017. Heads of states and prime ministers of the EU countries today discussed internal and external security co-operation and the EU's external relations. Afterwards, the European statesmen gathered in the EU27 format and addressed the Brexit negotiating process and the conditions of the member states' candidacies for the relocation of Union agencies from Great Britain.

At today's European Council session, the leaders of the EU member states talked about specific steps for strengthening of the Union's internal security. An entry / exit system, which will register passengers when crossing the external borders of the Union, will in the future contribute to the European security increase. An important measure will also be the ETIAS Travel Information System and Authorization, which will enable security checks of people travelling to the EU even before they arrive.

"The Czech Republic decidedly supports all measures that will strengthen the protection of the EU's external borders and will increase the security of our citizens. We must strengthen ourselves in the fight against terrorists including radicalisation on the Internet,"   claimed Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka.

Today, European statesmen also dealt with the issue of external security and defence. They followed up the conference on security and defence that took place in Prague on 9 June. At today's meeting, the European partners agreed that the so-called Permanent Structured Cooperation will be activated within several months. This instrument will allow member states to cooperate intensively in order to develop capabilities needed to lead demanding joint missions. In addition, EU leaders have decided to jointly fund the so-called "Battlegroups".

"I am very glad we managed to convince the other member states about the importance of the Battlegroups. These have already existed for many years – the joint Visegrad unit was on alert last year – but so far it has been very difficult to use them. That will change now,"   the prime minister commented.

Today, the European Council also stressed the need to support the European defence industry. It welcomed the European Commission's proposal to establish a European Defence Fund. According to the conclusions of today's meeting, the support will also aim at small and medium-sized enterprises. These play an important role in the Czech defence industry.

The final part of the summit belonged to a meeting in the EU-27 format. The EU-27 leaders discussed the first EU – Great Britain talks that began earlier this week. At the same time, they agreed to lay down the conditions for the selection of new residence for the EU offices that are now based in London. The Czech Republic has a long-established interest in the European Banking Authority (EBA). The government will submit its candidacy by the end of July.

The European Council will continue tomorrow with a negotiation of EU leaders on economic issues and migration. Before that, a meeting of prime ministers of the Visegrad Group countries with French President Emmanuel Macron will take place.

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