European policy expert Janis A. Emmanouilidis from the EPC discusses the upcoming EU leaders’ summit.
Once again, leaders are focussing on migration, although we’re unlikely to see any new proposals. Rather, the leaders are likely to re-emphasise their commitment to policies that have already been agreed at EU level, such as the relocation and resettlement of refugees, as well as “hotspots”: reception centres outside the EU’s borders where refugees can register their claim for asylum.
The other big issue is the UK referendum on EU membership, planned for 2016 or 2017. British Prime Minister David Cameron has promised the British public he’ll negotiate a series of opt-outs from EU policy for the UK, before bringing “Brexit” to a vote. These include limiting the welfare benefits EU migrants are entitled to, and an end to Britain’s obligation to foster “ever close union” with other EU countries. He’s also demanding a cut to EU “red-tape” in order to increase competitiveness across the bloc, and a recognition that the EU is a “multi-currency union”, where Britain’s pound is treated on the same level as the Euro. Limiting benefits for non-Brits is highly contentious, since it goes against the sacrosanct principle of freedom of movement within the EU. It seems unlikely that Cameron will reach a deal on this at the December summit.
Other issues to be discussed at the summit include Economic and Monetary Union and tensions with Russia over Ukraine.
The European Policy Centre (EPC) is a Brussels-based independent think tank focusing on European integration providing high-quality analysis on the EU policy agenda. The EPC has a strong multi-constituency approach. Its members include private companies, business federations, trade unions, public institutions and NGOs.
Janis A. Emmanouilidis has been working as the EPC’s Senior Policy Analyst since 1999 and was recently promoted to Director of Studies. His publications cover the EU’s overall political and institutional development, the sovereign debt crisis, EU integration, EU foreign policy as well as EU enlargement. Emmanouilidis also acts as an advisor to various governments, EU institutions, European parties and NGOs.