Written by Joséphine Vanden Broucke, Susanna Tenhunen, Stanislas de Finance, Ralf Drachenberg, Izabela Cristina Bacian and Christos Avdellas
Just over a month after the last informal European Council, the Heads of State or Government are meeting again for a formal meeting, this time to discuss the European Energy Union, the European Semester for 2015, relations with Russia and the situation in Ukraine, the Eastern Partnership as well as the situation in Libya.
The development of a common European energy policy is the main topic of this Spring European Council. European leaders will try to agree on a joint vision for a European Energy Union. The Commission’s plan unveils a broad concept, including issues such as energy efficiency, an integrated European energy market and the effect of energy policies on climate change in view of the Paris Summit on climate change next December, i.e. the 21st Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
EU leaders are also expected to endorse the 2015 Annual Growth Survey, which marks the kick-off of the 2015 European Semester of fiscal and economic policy coordination between Member States and which highlights EU priorities to boost economic recovery and employment.
The decision on sanctions against Russia will depend on how the European leaders evaluate compliance with the recent Minsk II agreement concluded on 11 February 2015 and on whether the united stance European Council President Donald Tusk called for can be achieved between the 28 Member States of the European Union.
The European Council will also set the agenda and the objectives for the Riga Summit on the Eastern Partnership, which, since 2009, is the European Union’s framework for its relations with former-Soviet states of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine. The aim is improving the political and economic trade-relations and making progress on human rights and the rule of law in these countries.
Finally, it is also expected that European leaders will address the worrisome situation in Libya and its implications for the security of the European Union, in particular with regard to illegal migration and terrorist threats. Leaders will try to determine how the EU can contribute to a political agreement on the formation of a government of national unity in Libya.