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Conclave to decide the future of the EU

Global Europe

Conclave to decide the future of the EU

Charles Michel and Jean-Claude Juncker [European Commission]

The leaders of the EU will convene in two formats over the 28-29 June summit, has learned. The first will be with the outgoing UK Prime Minister David Cameron, and a second gathering without him will discuss the way forward without Britain, and decide the holding of a Conclave in July to discuss the future of the EU.

The second meeting will not be an official one, as according to EU treaties it could not be called a summit, and it is also unlikely that it could produce conclusions. But this gathering is likely to decide the holding of a Conclave in July, aimed at discussing the future shape in which the European Union will be able to survive.

The leaders of the 27 countries have already been informed of the holding of the Conclave, EurActiv was told.

Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel called for such a Conclave today, in order “to discuss at the highest level the political orientations regarding the future of Europe”.

The Conclave should consider how to “advance” the internal market, Michel said, which in his words is not advanced enough, how to progress on energy, on the digital market and its employment potential, to ensure a “deepening of economic and monetary union” and to improve the internal and external security of the Union.

Europe must provide “added value” to the citizen and not be perceived as a body that merely manages crises, the Belgian premier said.

Michel added that EU leaders should turn this “difficult time” in an “opportunity”. The premier acknowledged that he was disappointed the choice of the British, which he, however, respected as an expression of the peoples’ will.  Michel recognised that the Brexit vote had been a “slap in the face”, but warned against panic. The construction of the European Union was the most beautiful dream of the 21st century. We must build another one, he said.

The holding of the Conclave has already been discussed before the UK referendum, but in a different light – to consider possible treaty changes to accommodate the reform deal snatched by Cameron in February.

Cameron clinches reform deal after benefits compromise

UK Prime Minister David Cameron on Friday night (19 February) said he would campaign for Britain to stay in a reformed EU, after securing promises of treaty change and compromising on his demands over benefits for EU migrants and their children.

This time, however, the Conclave, which is the most secretive form of EU decision-making, will discuss possible treaty changes allowing the Union to survive, possibly under another form, at a time when it is under attack from populist forces who use referendums to dismantle the EU project.