Council discusses over the role of Union's external relations

The Council of the European Union held 16 September, which was partly dominated by the debate about reactions following the expulsion of Roma people from France, was the occasion for an institutional debate about the development of EU external relations within the new framework given by the Treaty of Lisbon. European leaders also  took stock of progress achieved in the Task Force on economic governance.

European leaders meeting in Brussels agreed on the need for Europe to promote its interests and values more assertively and in a spirit of reciprocity and mutual benefit. As a first step, the Council set general orientations with a view to a number of important events over the coming weeks and months., and decided on a number of concrete measures to more generally enhance the effectiveness of the Union's external policy.

In this meeting marked by the reactions to the statement of Commissioner Reding about the expulsion of Roma people from France, the Council also took stock of the activities of the Government Task Force for Economic.

EU relations with strategic partners

In accordance with the Lisbon Treaty, and in line with the European Security Strategy, the European Union and its Member States will act more strategically so as to bring Europe's true weight to bear internationally. This idea put forward by the Council will require a clear identification of its strategic interests and objectives at a given moment and a focused reflection on the means to pursue them more assertively.

The European Council called for improving synergies between the European Union and national levels, consistent with the provisions of the Treaties, for enhancing coordination between institutional actors, for better integrating all relevant instruments and policies and for using summit meetings with third countries more effectively.

The European Union must be an effective global actor, ready to share in the responsibility for global security and to take the lead in the definition of joint responses to common challenges.

The European Union will hold a number of important international meetings in the coming weeks, and the European Council lay out initial orientations with a view to these meetings. It will in future regularly discuss external relations in order to set strategic orientations in advance of key events, in particular with a view to defining key messages on our objectives and on the means to achieve them. These meeting include summits with China and the Republic of Korea and the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), followed later in the year by a summit with India.

Besides, following the last G20 Summit held in Toronto, next meeting in Seoul will allow a review of the global economic recovery and the commitments made by G20 members. In particular, it will allow the Union to stress the importance of maintaining strong momentum in the area of financial reform.

Task Force on Economic Governance

On the basis of an interim report of the President of the Task Force on economic governance, the European Council welcomes the important progress made, notably on the European semester, on the development of a new macro-surveillance framework to monitor and correct unsustainable competitiveness divergences and imbalances in a timely manner and on the strengthening of national fiscal frameworks.