President Charles Michel gives remarks after the EC meeting on 12 Dec. 2019

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 (By Rasheed Ahmed)
:We have reached an agreement on climate change. It is very important. It was
crucial. It is important for Europe to show a strong ambition, because this topic is
very important for the next years. After the European Green Deal announced
yesterday by the Commission, after the COP 25, we take this strong commitment:
we want Europe as the first climate-neutral continent. We took this decision with
respect for many concerns of different countries, because we know that it is
important to take into consideration the different national circumstances, and also
different starting points. We think also that it is important to show all the possible
efforts in order to take into consideration the social consequences. We have also
taken into consideration the fact that for one member state it is necessary to take
more time before they implement this objective. We will have the occasion by June
2020 to come back in the Council regarding this country.
This is now the next step regarding the next European budget. With our way of
working, it will be my responsibility, in close cooperation with the Commission, to try
to converge, to try to develop all the possible efforts in order to reach an agreement
in the next weeks or in the next months. It means that we will try to develop bilateral
meetings at the technical level, and also at the political level with the member states.
I will appreciate when we think it is realistic to try to draw to the landing zone, and to
try to reach a final agreement. It is very important because we know that we have to
discuss many difficult and sensitive topics regarding the next European budget. For
example, the level of ambition, for example the rebates, the conditionalities, the
balance between the classical policies, on the one hand, and the new policies, on
the other hand. Climate change, for example, is a very important issue in this
framework. The own resources, and also we consider that it is important to have a
good cooperation with the European Parliament, because the European Parliament
has also a role to play in order to be able to take this decision. We have had tonight
also the occasion to discuss different international topics, especially the relationship
with Turkey. We have expressed our full solidarity with Cyprus and Greece. We
consider it is important in the future to continue to develop a dialogue with this
important country. We know that with regard to migration, for example, it is very
important to keep this close cooperation. But at the same time, we know that is
important to try to have a strategic vision, in the short term, in the mid-term, what do
we want with this important country for the future of Europe. Another important topic
is Africa. As you know, we consider Africa is a very important continent for us. That
is why we think that the preparation of the next European summit with Africa next
year, after the summer, will be very important.