18 Dec
Brexit and European Council

EU27: Brexit deal not open for renegotiation (European Council)

EU27: Brexit deal not open for renegotiation. “The European Union stands by this agreement and intends to proceed with its ratification,” agreed EU27 leaders. The European Council on 13 and 14 December also discussed the EU’s long-term budget, external relations, migration and the reform of the Economic and Monetary Union.

At the start of the meeting, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, representing the Austrian presidency, provided an overview of progress on the implementation of earlier European Council conclusions.


The EU27 leaders held a special meeting of the European Council in Article 50 format to discuss Brexit. They reconfirmed the conclusions of 25 November 2018, in which they endorsed the withdrawal agreement and approved the political declaration.

“The Union stands by this agreement and intends to proceed with its ratification. It is not open for renegotiation”, has remarked since the European Council.

European Council (Art. 50) conclusions, 13 December 2018

The European Council underlined that the backstop was intended as an insurance policy to prevent a hard border on the island of Ireland and ensure the integrity of the single market. “If the backstop were nevertheless to be triggered, it would apply temporarily, unless and until it is superseded by a subsequent agreement that ensures that a hard border is avoided,” said the EU27 leaders in the conclusions.

Leaders also discussed their preparedness for a no-deal scenario. Click here for further information.

EU budget for 2021-2027

The European Council had a first substantial exchange of views on the 2021-2027 multiannual financial framework on the basis of a progress report by the presidency of the Council. It called on the incoming presidency to continue the intensive work carried out over the past year on the future MFF, the EU’s long-term budget. Leaders aim to reach an agreement in the European Council in autumn 2019.

External relations

EU leaders discussed preparations for the upcoming summit with the League of Arab States on 24 and 25 February 2019.

Chancellor Merkel and President Macron briefed the leaders on the implementation of the Minsk agreements. Given that no progress has been made, the European Council took the political decision to roll-over the economic sanctions against Russia.

It expressed its utmost concern regarding the escalation in the Kerch Straits and the Azov Sea. It called for the immediate release of all detained Ukrainian seamen as well as the return of the seized vessels and free passage of all ships through the Kerch Straits.

The European Council welcomed the positive vote in the European Parliament on the EU-Japan trade deal and looked forward to its imminent entry into force.

By: Estela Martín

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