French President François Hollande said yesterday (20 February) there would be a summit in Versailles with the leaders of Germany, Italy and Spain on 6 March to prepare reforms for the European Union ahead of the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome on 25 March.
“It’s not about deciding between the four of us what Europe should be. That’s not our conception, but we are four important countries and it is up to us say what we want to do with the others, together,” Hollande said at a news conference alongside Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy in Malaga.
Mini sommet UE le 6/03 à Versailles : l'activisme tardif de @fhollande sur le front européen est assez intrigant. Que vise-t-il ?
— isabelle ory (@isabelleory) February 20, 2017
On the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the Rome Treaties, EU leaders will hold a summit expected to finalise the formulation of a vision for the future of the Union after Brexit. The first two discussions were held at the EU informal summit in Bratislava on 16 September 2016 and at the Malta summit on 3 February.
Rajoy and his Italian colleague Paiolo Gentiloni met on 27 January and discussed the EU summit in Rome this coming March to mark the 60th anniversary of the signing of the treaty establishing the European Economic Community.
France, Germany and Italy are founding members of the EU, while Spain joined in 1986. The future of Europe has been discussed at various formats, including at ministerial level between the foreign ministers of the six founding members of the European Union, Germany, France, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. But EU countries outside this group decried the gatherings.
Holland is also perceived as a possible replacement of Donald Tusk, the mandate of which ends on 31 May. Hollande’s plans for the future after 7 May, when the name of the new French president will be known, are uncertain. The transition between two presidencies in France lasts only one week.
First suggestions about a possible scenario of Holland replacing Tusk have been dismissed as “completely untrue”.
Tusk could have a second 2-and-a-half year mandate, but his future seems uncertain. The current populist Polish government of Jarosław Kaczyński, leader of the Law and Justice (PiS) party, has no real esteem for Tusk, who was the co-founder and leader of the EPP-affiliated Civic Platform (PO), now in opposition.
Tusk’s possible second mandate has reportedly been discussed during the recent visit of German Chancellor Angela Merkel to Poland, on 7 February. But Polish sources said the answer given to Merkel was “for her ears only”.