According to Prime Minister Kaja Kallas, the health crisis has taught lessons on the basis of which the countries of the European Union must prepare for new waves. “Based on these experiences, we must make preparations for the autumn,” said the prime minister. “The COVID digital certificate of the European Union makes it safer to travel but at the same time, serious thought is needed on how to ensure the free movement of people in the next waves. The negative impact of the restriction on movement on cross-border communities has been disproportionately large and this mistake must not be repeated,” Kallas emphasised.
The prime minister added that free movement is one of the core values of the European Union and the driver of the European internal market. “The European single market is at the heart of our economic recovery and therefore very important in overcoming the crisis.”
Prior to the Council, the leaders of the Benelux (Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg) and the Baltic states presented a joint paper on the impact of the health crisis on cross-border communities. It emphasises that future restrictions on travel due to the health crisis must take into account the impact of measures on the movement of people living and working in border areas. The Benelux and Baltic countries call for an analysis of ways to take better account of cross-border mobility in policy-making, both in the Member States and in the EU, in order to avoid negative consequences.
At the beginning of the Council, the heads of state and government of the European Union will meet for the first time together with UN Secretary-General António Guterres to discuss multilateralism, climate change, and the health crisis.
In coordinating the response to the coronavirus crisis, the Council will focus on restoring the free movement of persons, vaccination, international solidarity in the distribution of vaccines, as well as the initial lessons of the pandemic. President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen will present to the EU leaders a communication on lessons learned, which was published last week.
The EU leaders will then discuss the external dimension of migration and the relations of the European Union with Turkey, Libya, the Sahel, and Ethiopia. They will also continue the debate on Russia on the basis of a report from the European External Action Service and the European Commission.
The EU leaders will also focus on the economic relaunch of Europe.
Following the Council meeting, the prime minister will also attend the Euro Summit. The summit focuses on the economic challenges of the euro area following the health crisis and on developments in the Banking and Capital Markets Union.
Before the Council, a meeting of the heads of state of Ireland and Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Sweden, Finland, and Denmark (NB6) will also take place today.
Additional information: https://www.consilium.europa.eu/et/meetings/european-council/2021/06/24-25/
and on the Euro Summit https://www.consilium.europa.eu/et/meetings/euro-summit/2021/06/25/