An EU Summit Of Challenges Before 2019 European Elections

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The turmoil in Italy and Spain as well as the transatlantic tensions served as a wake-up call for the European Union. On the upcoming summit agenda EU leader will find all the EU challenges: Migration, Eurozone and Defence. EU officials said that the summit will need to re-energise the European Union and call on EU leaders to overcome divisions and implement reforms.

European Union member states are wrestling over how to reform their broken asylum system pushing for a deal at the summit that will take place on 28-29 June in Brussels. This is a highly politicised subject that the EU is seeking to resolve for nearly three years.

For Angela Merkel, immigration is a “litmus test” for the future of Europe and an EU deal at this summit is crucial also for the surviving of her coalition government.

Many in Brussels see the keys for a solution in Paris and Berlin and to whether they will be ready and able to formulate a joint inclusive initiative which will also reflect the interests of other member states and can be a basis to progress.

On the table will also be Britain’s departure from the EU and the controversy over EU finances.

Brussels struggles in the search for antidotes to improve economic performance.

Germany is expected to support investment budget. This fund is intended for rainy days and would serve to help economic imbalances between richer and poorer European countries which are in need to catch up in areas of science, technology and innovation.

Also on the summit agenda is the suggestion of turning the Eurozone’s European Stability Mechanism (ESM) rescue fund into a European Monetary Fund (EMF) with powers to give member states that are hit by sovereign debt troubles short term credit.

The aim is to make the EU more independent from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). EU sources underline that the intention is that the EMF would complement other measures to strengthen the Euro including a banking and capital markets union.

According to French sources, France will continue to push for an ambitious agreement regarding the monetary union. Merkel and Macron are meeting today(Tuesday) at Merkel’s Schloss Meseberg to deal with the Eurozone reform and immigration among others. French and German sources indicated that there are results to expect in the conclusion of the meeting.

A further subject is Defence. It is a French proposal which has the support of Germany. The proposal calls for the creation of a European intervention force outside of NATO.

This EU summit is seen as the last chance before the European elections in May 2019 to get several tangible projects on the road and demonstrate to frustrated EU voters EU’s ability to deliver on its promises.

Many in Brussels say that the window of opportunity is closing down and the June summit will be decisive.

About the Author

Israel Rafalovich
Israel Rafalovich is a journalist now based in Brussels who has over 50 years of experience in Tel-Aviv, Brussels, Bonn and Washington, DC. He covers Europe and the European institutions and writes a weekly column on International Relations.