At their meeting in February, EU leaders agreed on a new settlement for the UK within the EU. Discussions at the European Council 18-19 February 2016 were dominated by the deal with the UK and the ongoing migration and refugee crisis.The EU leaders also discussed the situation in Syria and Libya.
The continuing war in Syria, a humanitarian crisis in the region and the weakening of state structures have created a combustible environment, which has contributed to the refugee and migration crisis and the rise of the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the levant (ISIL) forcing more people to leave their homes and seek a better life in Europe.
Vital EU-NATO cooperation
Europe faces an increasingly unstable and dangerous neighbourhood, issues we need to face together in partnership. That is exactly what EU is beginning to do now with the U.S. together with others in the Global Coalition to counter ISIL and, NATO helping now on the border between Turkey and Greece to deter human trafficking into Europe and to reduce illegal migration and safeguard the integrity of the Schengen area. The European Council welcomes NATO’s decision to assist.
The UK´s EU renegotiation.
On 2 February 2016, President Donald Tusk after meeting Prime Minister David Cameron put forward a proposal for a new settlement addressing all four main aims for renegotiation. The proposal served as the basis for negotiations during the European Council meeting.
At the December 2015 European Council meeting, the European Council agreed to find mutually satisfactory solutions in four areas of British concern in the European Union:
- economic governance
- social benefits and free movement
Following intense negotiations, EU leaders achieved a deal which strengthens Britain’s special status in the EU. It is a legally binding and irreversible decision by all 28 leaders. The settlement addresses all of Prime Minister Cameron’s concerns without compromising EU fundamental values.