The European Council agreed on an agenda for the EU for the next five years. ‘A new strategic agenda 2019-2024’ sets out the priority areas that will steer the work of the European Council and provide guidance for the work programmes of other EU institutions.
The strategic agenda focuses on four main priorities:
- protecting citizens and freedoms
- developing a strong and vibrant economic base
- building a climate-neutral, green, fair and social Europe
- promoting European interests and values on the global stage
It also sets out how to achieve those objectives.
A new strategic agenda
Protecting citizens and freedoms
One is to protect the fundamental human rights for EU citizens, and the other is to promote human rights worldwide. The EU Charter of Fundamental Rights guarantees EU citizens’ rights. It also applies to national governments when they are implementing EU law.
The EU must be big on big and small on small. It must leave economic and social actors the space to breathe, to create and to innovate. It will be important to engage with citizens, civil society and social partners, as well as with regional and local actors.
EU strategic agenda 2019-2024
Europe must be a place where people feel free and safe. The EU must defend the fundamental rights and freedoms of its citizens and protect them against existing and emerging threats.
The main priorities of the European Council in this area are:
- effective control of the external borders
- fighting illegal migration and human trafficking through better cooperation with countries of origin and transit
- agreeing an effective asylum policy
- ensuring proper functioning of Schengen
- improving cooperation and information-sharing to fight terrorism and cross-border crime
- increasing the EU’s resilience against both natural and man-made disasters
- protecting our societies from malicious cyber activities, hybrid threats and disinformation
Developing our economic base: the European model for the future
Developing our economic base: the European model for the future. A strong economic base is of key importance for Europe’s competitiveness, prosperity and role on the global stage and for the creation of jobs. The EU needs both, and needs them urgently.
Europe’s competitiveness, prosperity, jobs and role on the global stage all depend on a strong economic base. In this field, the European Council is focusing on:
- deepening the Economic and Monetary Union
- completing the banking and capital markets union
- strengthening the international role of the euro
- strengthening cohesion in the EU
- working on all aspects of the digital revolution and artificial intelligence: infrastructure, connectivity, services, data, regulation and investment
- reducing the fragmentation of European research, development and innovation activities
- ensuring fair competition within the EU and on the global stage
Building a climate-neutral, green, fair and social Europe
Europe needs to step up its action to manage climate change, which is an ‘existential threat’. It also needs to embrace technological evolution and globalisation while making sure that no-one is left behind. Priority actions identified by the European Council include:
- ensuring that EU policies are consistent with the Paris Agreement
- accelerating the transition to renewables and increasing energy efficiency
- reducing dependence on outside sources, diversifying supplies and investing in solutions for the mobility of the future
- improving the quality of our air and waters
- promoting sustainable agriculture
- implementing the European Pillar of Social Rights at EU and member state level
- calling on all EU countries to move forward and step up their climate action
In a world of increasing uncertainty, complexity and change, the EU needs to pursue a strategic course of action and increase its capacity to act autonomously to safeguard its interests, uphold its values and way of life, and help shape the global future. In this area, the European Council has agreed the following key actions:
- supporting the UN and key multilateral organisations
- promoting sustainable development and implementing the 2030 agenda
- cooperating with partner countries on migration
- upholding the European perspective for European states able and willing to join the EU
- developing a comprehensive partnership with Africa
- ensuring ambitious and robust trade policy, within the reformed WTO and at the bilateral level between the EU and it partners
- cooperating closely with NATO
This strategic agenda is the first step in a process that will be taken forward by the EU institutions and the member states. The European Council will follow the implementation of these priorities closely and will define further general political directions and priorities as necessary.
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