European Parliament Press Kit for the European Council of 14, 15 December 2023 | News

Priopćenja za tisak – Europski parlament

European Parliament President Roberta Metsola will represent the European Parliament at the summit, address the heads of state or government at 10.00, and hold a press conference after her speech.

When: Press conference at around 10.30 on 14 December

Where: European Council press room and via Parliament’s webstreaming or EbS.

At their meeting in Brussels, heads of state or government are set to focus on the latest developments in Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine and continued EU support for the country and its people, on the situation in the Middle East and on EU enlargement policy, including the stabilisation and association process. They will also discuss the EU’s long-term 2021-2027 budget with a view to reaching an agreement, security and defence issues as well as external relations.

Hamas attack on Israel

In a resolution adopted on 19 October, MEPs strongly condemned the brutal attacks, expressed their support to Israel and its people and underlined the need to “eliminate the terrorist organisation Hamas”. They also called for the immediate release of all hostages kidnapped by Hamas and recognised Israel’s right to self-defence “as enshrined in and constrained by international law”. Any actions by Israel must strictly comply with international humanitarian law, the text states.

Parliament also stressed that both the attacks by Hamas and the Israeli response risk reinforcing a cycle of violence in the region. MEPs called for a “humanitarian pause” in the fighting and stressed that attacking civilians and civilian infrastructure, including UN workers, medical workers and journalists, is a serious violation of international law.

MEPs urged the European Commission to thoroughly review all EU financial assistance to Palestine and the region to ensure no EU funds directly or indirectly finance terrorism. At the same time, they underlined that the EU budget must continue to provide support to building peace and stability in the area.

In the resolution, Parliament reiterated its call to include the entirety of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and Lebanese Hezbollah on the EU list of terrorist groups and demanded investigations into the role of Iran and countries such as Qatar and Russia in financing and supporting terrorism in the region.

Further reading

MEPs condemn Hamas attack on Israel and call for a humanitarian pause

Resolution: The despicable terrorist attacks by Hamas against Israel, Israel’s right to defend itself in line with humanitarian and international law and the humanitarian situation in Gaza

President Metsola at the European Council: EU must remain coherent and united

Leading MEPs condemn attack by Hamas terrorists against Israel

Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine

On 28 October, EP leaders had an exchange of views with the speaker of the Verkhovna Rada, Ruslan Stefanchuk. They reiterated their unwavering solidarity with and pay tribute to the brave people of Ukraine, the laureates of the 2022 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, who are courageously defending their country’s independence and territorial integrity, while also defending freedom, democracy and their country’s European future against the brutal Russian regime. Group leaders voiced their strong support for the European Council’s decision to grant EU candidate status to Ukraine in 2022, welcomed the positive recommendation from the European Commission on 8 November 2023 to open accession negotiations with Ukraine, and stressed they expect the recommendation to be confirmed by the European Council at its meeting in December.

In a resolution adopted on 9 November, Parliament voiced its alarm over existing loopholes in the EU’s sanctions regime against Russia. While highlighting the unprecedented nature of the EU’s restrictive measures, MEPs are concerned about the lack of proper enforcement and attempts to undermine the effort to strategically weaken the Russian economic and industrial base, and hinder the country’s ability to wage war. They underline that the European Union still remains one of Russia’s largest fossil fuel clients, due to continued imports of pipeline gas and LNG, as well as various exceptions to the ban on importing crude oil and oil products. MEPs call on the EU and its member states to strengthen and centralise EU-level oversight of sanctions implementation and to develop a mechanism to prevent circumvention and to monitor, in order to properly close the EU market for Russian-origin fossil fuels, and to impose sanctions on all the major Russian oil companies, Gazprombank, their subsidiaries and their boards and management.

On 17 October, Parliament voted on a new Ukraine Facility with an overall capacity of €50 billion for 2024-2027 to support the country’s recovery, reconstruction and modernisation.

One of MEPs’ key demands is that assets from the Russian Federation or other entities or individuals directly connected with Russia’s war of aggression be used in Ukraine’s reconstruction. With their amendments, MEPs also made the Facility more democratically accountable, encouraging multiparty democracy and Ukraine’s alignment with EU accession requirements.

The Ukraine Facility is part of the ongoing revision of the EU’s long-term budget, for which adjustments are needed, as it has been severely depleted following the multiple crises since 2021. MEPs insist that the Facility, along with the entire budgetary revision, should be agreed as soon as possible, as otherwise there will be no provisions for assistance to Ukraine from 2024. The package should also be integrated into 2024’s annual budget, to be negotiated in November.

Further reading

Statement of the Conference of Presidents on support for Ukraine

Parliament wants tougher enforcement of EU sanctions against Russia

A long-term solution for Ukraine’s funding needs

How the EU is supporting Ukraine

EU stands with Ukraine

MEPs to contact

Michael Gahler
(EPP, DE), co-rapporteur for the Committee on Foreign Affairs

Eider Gardiazabal Rubial (S&D, ES), co-rapporteur for the Committee on Budgets

Revision of the EU’s long-term budget

On 3 October, MEPs set out their position on the reform of the EU’s long-term budget, emphasizing the urgency of future-proofing the EU budget. Following the Commission’s proposal for a mid-term revision on the EU’s long-term budget, MEPs in plenary endorsed an extra €10 billion for the years 2024-2027, in addition to the €65.8 billion proposed by the Commission.

In light of recent external challenges, especially the Russian war against Ukraine and growing migration issues, MEPs bolstered the relevant budgetary areas by €2 billion. They have allocated an additional €3 billion towards the new “Strategic Technologies for Europe Platform” (STEP) and earmarked €5 billion to enhance the EU’s ability to respond to unforeseen crises.

As for debt payments resulting from the EU’s Recovery plan, MEPs demand that they be positioned above the EU’s budgetary caps to ensure EU programmes directly benefiting citizens are not compromised, especially given the potential volatility of these costs with rising interest rates.

MEPs stress that a swift adoption of the amended regulation is key, as the revised MFF should be operational by 1 January 2024 to offer a framework for that year’s annual budget.

Further reading

Parliament’s stance on the revision of the EU’s long-term budget

Parliament argues for a top-up to multi-annual budget for crisis response

Interim report on the proposal for a mid-term revision of the multiannual financial framework 2021-2027

Mid-term revision of the 2021-2027 MFF: Interim report on Commission proposal

MEPs to contact

Jan Olbrycht (EPP, PL), c-rapporteur

Margarida Marques (S&D, PT), co-rapporteur


In a resolution adopted on 13 December, Parliament calls the EU’s enlargement policy one of the strongest geopolitical tools at its disposal and a strategic investment in peace and security. MEPs urge the European Council to open accession negotiations with Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova. Provided certain steps are taken, they say accession talks should also be opened with Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Georgia should be granted candidate status.

MEPs also stress that the EU should establish a clear enlargement timetable for candidate countries to conclude accession negotiations by the end of this decade. There should, however, be no fast-track for membership. MEPs insist that the so-called Copenhagen criteria must be fulfilled to ensure that candidate and potential candidate countries demonstrate a consistent and enduring commitment to democracy, the rule of law, human rights and respect for and the protection of minorities, and economic reforms.

On 28 November, Parliament’s Conference of Presidents reiterated its strong support for the European Council’s decision to grant EU candidate status to Ukraine in 2022. It welcomed the positive recommendation from the European Commission on 8 November 2023 to open accession negotiations with Ukraine. It expects the recommendation to be confirmed by the European Council at its meeting in December. Political Group leaders reaffirm their commitment to Ukraine’s EU membership, which represents a geostrategic investment in a united and strong Europe.

In a resolution adopted on 19 October, MEPs say the Serbian Government is pursuing a very dangerous policy with regard to Kosovo and its Western partners. They condemned in the strongest possible terms “the hideous and cowardly terrorist attack on Kosovan police officers by well-organised Serbian paramilitaries” in Banjska/Banjskë on 24 September 2023. If the investigation finds that the Serbian state was directly involved in the 24 September attacks, the Commission should freeze the funding provided to Serbia under the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance III, MEPs say. Aggressive military behaviour, together with radicalised political messaging in Serbia and strong indications of the Serbian state’s involvement in the recent political violence in the north of Kosovo, indicates that the Serbian government is pursuing a very dangerous but coherent policy with regard to Kosovo and its Western partners.

With regard to Montenegro, high political tensions and polarisation have caused the country’s EU accession process to stall, say MEPs in a report adopted on 18 October. While commending Montenegro’s long-standing commitment to EU integration, which continues to have strong public support, MEPs say the failure to build a consensus on matters of national interest and a lack of cross-party dialogue have delayed progress on EU-related reforms and plunged Montenegro into deep political and institutional crises. The report stresses the urgent need for political stability and substantial progress in key EU-related reforms, in particular electoral and judicial reforms and the fight against organised crime and corruption.

In a resolution adopted on 5 October, MEPs vote to reaffirm their commitment to Moldova’s future EU membership and want accession talks with Chişinău to launch before the end of the year. The Moldovan government has, MEPs say, demonstrated its determination and ability to fulfil the European Commission’s requirements to begin membership talks, adding that Moldova’s EU membership would represent a geostrategic investment in a united and strong Europe. They underline the importance of the Chişinău government continuing the country’s reform process, not only in order to reach the political objective of joining the EU, but primarily to tangibly improve Moldovans’ living standards. The EU and its member states should also increase their financial and technical assistance to Moldova to facilitate its swift and effective integration into the EU.

In their annual report, adopted on 13 September, MEPs urge the EU and Türkiye to break the current deadlock and find “a parallel and realistic framework” for EU-Türkiye relations. Unless the Turkish government drastically changes course, Türkiye’s EU accession process cannot resume under the current circumstances, MEPs say. Urging the Turkish government, the European Union and its member states to break the current deadlock and move towards a closer partnership, MEPs recommend finding a parallel and realistic framework for EU-Türkiye relations, and call on the Commission to explore possible formats. MEPs confirm that Türkiye remains a candidate for EU accession, a NATO ally and a key partner in security, trade and economic relations, and migration, stressing that the country is expected to respect democratic values, rule of law, human rights and abide by EU laws, principles and obligations.

In two reports, adopted on 12 July, MEPs welcome the start of accession negotiations with Albania and warn the Republika Srpska’s leadership to stop its secessionist actions in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

MEPs welcome Albania’s steadfast commitment to EU integration, noting that it is a reflection of the consensus among political parties and the overwhelming support among citizens. MEPs welcome that the government has kept its focus on EU-related reforms, has reinforced its structure for coordinating European integration and the parliament’s role in the EU integration process by amending the relevant law, and urge decision-makers to work jointly towards meeting the membership criteria by no later than 2030.

Commending the swift implementation of the results of the October 2022 general election and the appointment of a new state-level government, MEPs urge Bosnia and Herzegovina to prepare thoroughly for EU accession negotiations, seizing the political momentum gained by the European Council’s decision in December 2022 to grant the country candidate status. The EU should, say MEPs, accelerate BiH’s accession process but stress the process needs to be based on the country’s own merits.

Further reading

Statement of the Conference of Presidents on support for Ukraine

Serbia and Kosovo must work to de-escalate the situation in northern Kosovo

Montenegro’s EU accession progress is losing momentum

Parliament pushes for start of EU accession talks with Moldova

MEPs call on EU and Türkiye to look for alternative ways to cooperate

MEPs assess the situation in Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina

MEPs to contact

Tonino Picula (S&D, HR), rapporteur Montenegro

Nacho Sánchez Amor (S&D, ES), rapporteur Türkiye

Isabel Santos (S&D, PT), rapporteur Albania

Paulo Rangel (EPP, PT), rapporteur Bosnia and Herzegovina

David McALLISTER (EPP, DE), Chair of the Committee on Foreign Affairs

Security and Defence

In their annual report on the implementation of the Common Foreign and Security Policy, adopted in the Foreign Affairs Committee on 28 November, MEPs stress that the EU needs to come of age as a geopolitical actor, with its external action guided by the values and principles that inspired its own creation, development and enlargement. They call on the EU to improve its capacity to act in response to, as well as to pre-empt, global crises.

The report emphasises the significance of stronger bilateral and regional partnerships that enable the EU to assert its interests globally. From its closest neighbours and allies to those far away but the most in need, the EU should cooperate with partners to defend the rules-based-order and to maintain a principled position vis-a-vis those who challenge EU values and principles.

The EU still does not have the necessary confidence or tools to develop its full mediation potential in areas of strategic importance, MEPs say in a new report on the role of preventive diplomacy in tackling frozen conflicts around the world, adopted in the Foreign Affairs Committee on 28 November. They stress that in the current volatile geopolitical situation, the EU needs to respond in appropriate ways, such as enhancing its visibility in partner or other third countries. Otherwise, anti-European narratives in the EU’s immediate neighbourhood and third countries are likely to flourish. A reliance on political, diplomatic or military strategies is inadequate to prevent conflict, MEPs argue, and there is a need for a more comprehensive and ambitious engagement strategy.

Further reading

Common Foreign and Security Policy: EU should develop robust strategic alliances

MEPs expect the EU to play a bigger role in global conflict prevention

MEPs to contact

David McALLISTER (EPP, DE), Chair of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, rapporteur on the Implementation of the common foreign and security policy – annual report 2023

Sven MIKSER (S&D, ET), rapporteur on the Implementation of the common security and defence policy – annual report 2023

Željana ZOVKO (EPP, HR), rapporteur on the role of preventive diplomacy in tackling frozen conflicts around the world

External relations

In a report adopted on 28 November, the Foreign Affairs Committee urges the EU to foster a strategic partnership with the five Central Asian countries – Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan – where Russia’s standing has been weakened by its aggression against Ukraine. This has encouraged Central Asia to pursue cooperation with other actors like China, MEPs say, stressing that the EU now has an opportunity to expand its ties with the region and play a more prominent role. Increasing economic relations and intensifying political ties would also play a part in minimising the circumvention of sanctions by Russia and Belarus.

Parliament calls on Serbia and Kosovo to denounce all forms of violence and acts of provocation, urging them to halt any actions that may further escalate tensions and to actively work towards peaceful dispute resolution through EU-facilitated dialogue.

In a resolution adopted on 5 October 2023, Parliament strongly condemned Azerbaijan’s pre-planned and unjustified military attack against Nagorno-Karabakh on 19 September, which MEPs say constituted a gross violation of international law and human rights and a clear infringement of previous attempts to achieve a ceasefire. With over 100 000 ethnic Armenians having been forced to flee the enclave since the latest offensive, MEPs say the current situation amounts to ethnic cleansing and strongly condemn threats and violence committed by Azerbaijani troops against the Armenian inhabitants of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Parliament calls on the EU to undertake a comprehensive review of its relations with Baku. To develop a strategic partnership with a country like Azerbaijan, which blatantly violates international law and international commitments, and has an alarming human rights record, is incompatible with the objectives of EU foreign policy. MEPs urge the EU to suspend any negotiations on a renewed partnership with Baku, and should the situation not improve, consider suspending the application of the EU visa facilitation agreement with Azerbaijan.

Further reading

Russia’s weakened influence is an opportunity to expand ties with Central Asia

Nagorno-Karabakh: MEPs demand review of EU relations with Azerbaijan

Resolution on the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh after Azerbaijan’s attack and the continuing threats against Armenia

Serbia and Kosovo must work to de-escalate the situation in northern Kosovo

Resolution on the recent developments in the Serbia-Kosovo dialogue, including the situation in the northern municipalities in Kosovo

MEPs to contact

Karsten LUCKE (S&D, DE), rapporteur on an EU strategy on Central Asia

Marina Kaljurand, (S&D, ET), Chair of the delegation for relations with South Caucasus

Andrey Kovatchev (EPP, BG), standing rapporteur for Armenia

Željana Zovko (EPP, HR), standing rapporteur for Azerbaijan

Vladimír Bilčík (EPP, SK), standing rapporteur for Serbia

Viola von Cramon-Taubadel (Greens/EFA, DE), standing rapporteur for Kosovo

Romeo Franz (Greens/EFA, DE), Chair of the delegation for relations with Kosovo

Alessandra Moretti (S&D, IT), Chair of the delegation to the EU-Serbia Stabilisation and Association Parliamentary Committee

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