An informal summit of the European Union was held on Friday 16 September in Bratislava in Slovakia. It was the first council of EU leaders without the presence of Britain which was not invited. It was after the June 23 referendum, where the British voted for the release of the United Kingdom of the European Union, the Member States have decided to meet at an informal Council in mid-September.
The absence of Britain
The European Union needed to rise up after the announcement of “Brexit”. This referendum was indeed a “too much” event for this union increasingly disunited. This informal meeting was therefore an occasion to put the EU up by implementing concrete and solid projects.
The “Brexit” was the like an indicator of the feelings a part of European citizens. The Bratislava summit therefore aimed to restore confidence to the entire population of the European Union.
Like it or not, excluding Britain marks a real turning point. It is now clear that the European Union wants to move on, a fresh start, but is that reason enough not to invite one of its founding members, which is still one of its members? Especially when we know that it is customary to invite non-members of the European Union during informal summits like this – Turkey was invited at the summit in Brussels on March 7 – and that the United Kingdom has not signed Article 50 of the EU Treaty which governs the conditions for the possible exit of a member State.
A European Union weakens
The migration crisis that has increased since 2015 in dramatic fashion is a concrete illustration of the divisions that exist within the Union.
The leaders of its countries have failed to agree on a common policy against people smugglers who put in danger all those lives everyday. They have also failed to economically help the countries of origin of migrants to develop.
The President of the European Council, Donald Tusk stated at the beginning of this summit that should be done with the internal and external security – the gateway to Europe – a priority. This is due to the fact that the issue of migration is one of the top concerns of European citizens.
What a controversy! Host country of the EU summit, Slovakia has been clear in the European concert by saying it will not welcome Muslim refugees, saying that their borders are only open to Christian migrants. The Czech Republic also shared this position.
On the other hand, London has planned for funding a four meters high wall to prevent migrants from boarding on trucks that take the ferry from Calais, (a France region) to the United Kingdom. As an extension of the existing barrier along the “Jungle” of Calais, a new 1km wall co-funded by the UK will be constructed by the end of the year. Besides, the Prime Minister of UK, Theresa May plans to tighten the rules on immigration after the Brexit.
According to government plans, migrants from the EU will be required to have a job before entering the UK, according to the tabloid, which is a more rigorous regime than the immigration system proposed by the Brexit supporters during the campaign.
Summit to focus on security and defence
Islamic terrorism appears unfortunately be the first concern. Thus, to show that the European Union is more united than ever, projects such as the creation of a military headquarters in Brussels, or the establishment of a new body of border guards to better control immigration were raised.
In his speech, François Hollande, President of the French Republic exposed the need to ensure that the right of asylum is respected, and a better organization of the return of those who cannot stay, namely migrants whose application was not accepted.
Leaders of EU countries have therefore set a deadline of reflection. They must present their final project in March 2017, the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome.