Laeken European Council: Details of topics and issues

The European Council of 14-15 December will be held at the Royal Palace in Laeken.
The topics and issues that are likely to be discussed at this meeting of heads of state and government and foreign ministers are given below. However, this agenda may still change in response to circumstances.

International issues

The European Council will focus on a number of important international issues. Firstly, it will examine the action taken by the EU since the terrorist attacks perpetrated in the United States on 11 September. Discussions will also touch on the situation in Afghanistan. Current developments in the Middle East, the western Balkans and Africa will likewise be considered. Finally, in this part of the talks the Council will discuss the European Security and Defence Policy.

Justice and home affairs

The second main topic of discussion at the European Council will be the progress made in justice and home affairs. The Council will consider how the conclusions of the Tampere Council have been implemented and lay well give fresh impetus to the creation of a European Area of Freedom, Security and Justice. Special attention will be paid to the problem of asylum and immigration policy and questions of visa management and border controls.

EU enlargement

The third topic will be EU enlargement. On the basis of Commission reports and the talks in the General Affairs Council, the Council will discuss the progress made in the enlargement process.

Economic and social issues

The European Council will discuss a series of social issues that feature prominently on the agenda of this Presidency. These include the approval of work quality indicators, as called for by the Stockholm European Council, and social exclusion indicators. The Laeken European Council is also expected to give renewed impetus to pursue the efforts made in the Lisbon and Stockholm processes, partly in light of the important summit scheduled to be held in Barcelona in the spring. The European Council should also consider the Community patent with the aim of reaching a final decision on this important matter before the end of the year.

Introduction of euro notes and coins

In the presence of the finance ministers, the European Council will discuss one last time the planned introduction of euro notes and coins before the final transition to the new single currency in the form of coins and notes on 1 January.

The future of Europe

The heads of state and government will discuss the future of Europe and put the finishing touches to the Laeken Declaration.

Allocation of seats for agencies

Finally, in connection with the decision-making process, the European Council will discuss the allocation of seats for agencies. The legal framework has already been defined for several of these agencies, so they will be able to become operational swiftly if agreement can be reached on where to site their headquarters.


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