European Council conclusions on COVID-19, energy, trade and external relations, 21 October 2021

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I. COVID-19

1. Vaccination campaigns across Europe have enabled significant progress in the fight against COVID-19. However, the situation in some Member States remains very serious. In order to further increase vaccination rates across the Union, efforts to overcome reluctance to vaccination should be stepped up, including by tackling disinformation, including on social media platforms . It is necessary to remain vigilant with regard to the emergence and dissemination of possible new variants.

2. In view of the evolving epidemiological situation, the European Council calls for further coordination in order to facilitate free movement and movement within the EU, as well as a review of the two Council recommendations. It encourages the Commission to speed up its work on the mutual recognition of certificates with third countries.

3. Based on the experiences of the COVID-19 crisis, the EU’s resilience and horizontal crisis preparedness must be enhanced. In order to ensure better prevention, preparedness and response to future health emergencies in the EU, the European Council calls for the conclusion of negotiations on the Union’s legislative package for health and to ensure that Member States are duly associated with the governance of the health emergency Preparedness and Intervention Authority (HERA). He recalled the need to quickly advance work on access to medicines in the Member States.

4. The European Council reaffirms the EU’s continued commitment to contribute to the international response to the pandemic and to ensure universal access to vaccines. It calls for the swift removal of barriers to global vaccine deployment and calls on the Commission to engage more directly with manufacturers in this regard. This will allow Member States to speed up the delivery of vaccines to the countries that need them most. The EU will continue to support the production and use of vaccines in partner countries.

5. In the context of the next meeting of the G20 and in view of the extraordinary session of the World Health Assembly in November, the European Council underlines its support for a central and strong role of the World Health Organization in future global health governance and for the goal of concluding an international treaty on pandemics.

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III. ENERGY PRICE

11. The European Council considered the recent surge in energy prices and considered the impact of rising prices on citizens and businesses, in particular our vulnerable citizens and SMEs, who are struggling to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

12. The toolkit presented in the Commission communication on tackling rising energy prices contains useful short and long term measures.

13. The European Council invites:

  • the Commission to study the functioning of the gas and electricity markets, as well as the EU ETS market, with the help of the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA). Subsequently, the Commission will assess whether certain commercial behavior requires additional regulatory measures;
  • the Member States and the Commission urgently to make best use of the toolbox to relieve the most vulnerable consumers in the short term and to support European businesses, taking into account the diversity and specificity of the situations of the Member States;
  • the Commission and the Council to rapidly consider medium and long-term measures which would contribute to affordable energy for households and businesses, increase the resilience of the EU energy system and of the EU’s internal market. energy, ensure security of supply and support the transition to climate neutrality, taking into account the diversity and specific nature of Member States’ situations; and
  • the European Investment Bank to study how to accelerate investments in energy transition, within its current room for maneuver, with a view to reducing the risks of future disruptions and meeting Europe’s global connectivity ambitions.

14. The extraordinary meeting of the TTE (Energy) Council on October 26, 2021 will move this work forward immediately. The European Council will keep the situation under review and come back to it in December.

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V. TRADE

22. The European Council held a strategic debate on EU trade policy.

VI. FOREIGN RELATIONS

23. The European Council examined the preparations for the next ASEM summit on 25 and 26 November 2021. In this context, it supports the EU strategy for cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region and calls on the Council to ensure its implementation. fast work.

24. The European Council also discussed preparations for the Eastern Partnership summit, to be held on 15 December 2021. The EU’s relations with this region remain of major strategic importance. The European Council reiterates its call on the Belarusian authorities to release all political prisoners.

25. Ahead of COP26 in Glasgow, the European Council calls for an ambitious global response to climate change. Keeping the global warming limit of 1.5 ° C close at hand is essential. The European Council therefore calls on all parties to propose and implement ambitious national objectives and policies. In particular, it urges large economies that have not yet done so to communicate or update scaled-up and ambitious nationally determined contributions in time for COP26 and to present long-term strategies to achieve net zero emissions. by 2050. The European Council reiterates the commitment of the EU and its Member States to continue increasing their climate finance. He calls on other developed countries to urgently increase their contribution to the collective climate finance goal of $ 100 billion per year until 2025.

26. The European Council also took note of the preparations for the COP15 meeting on biodiversity in Kunming. It calls for an ambitious post-2020 global biodiversity framework to halt and reverse biodiversity loss.

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Following the Council declaration of 6 December 2018 on the fight against anti-Semitism and the development of a common security approach to better protect Jewish communities and institutions in Europe and the Council declaration of 2 December 2020 on the integration of the fight against anti-Semitism into all policy areas, the European Commission The Council welcomes the EU strategy to combat anti-Semitism and promote Jewish life adopted by the Commission on 5 October 2021. The Malmö International Forum on Holocaust Remembrance and the Fight against Anti-Semitism, October 13, 2021, recalls that no effort should be spared in the fight against all forms of anti-Semitism, racism and xenophobia.

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