Laeken European Council: Details of topics and issues
The European Council of 14-15 December will be held at the Royal Palace
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.
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.
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.