EU leaders discuss economy and migration

Migration issues with a focus on the Central Mediterranean route and the situation in the western Balkans were on EU leaders’ agenda when the European Council met in Brussels on 9 March. The Council also held an annual review of the economic situation in the EU. Prime Minister Stefan Löfven represented Sweden.
Photo: Swedish Permanent Representation to the European Union

When EU leaders gathered at a meeting of the European Council on 9 March, the economic situation in the EU was discussed. The agenda also included the situation in the western Balkans and migration issues with a focus on the situation in Libya. The European Council re-elected Donald Tusk to the position of President. Sweden was represented by Prime Minister Stefan Löfven.  

Traditionally, Europe’s economic situation is in focus at the Council’s March meeting. The EU leaders discussed jobs, growth, competitiveness and the European Semester. Attention was also focused on EU trade agreements and the work to deepen the internal market.

“We can note that all EU countries are enjoying economic growth, even if it is at different rates. There is still a lot to do with regard to unemployment and the internal market, but development is going in the right direction,” said Mr Löfven.

Migration and follow up of Malta meeting

When EU leaders met informally in Malta on 3 February, a joint declaration on strengthening cooperation with Libya was adopted. The aim is to stabilise the fragile political process in the country, prevent human smuggling and the loss of more lives in the Mediterranean. The declaration has now been followed up with a review of the now intensified cooperation with the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) as well as training support to the Libyan coast guard.

Security and EU’s external relations

The EU leaders considered the vulnerable political situation in the western Balkans and followed up conclusions adopted in December last year to strengthen cooperation in the defence area.

Election of President and anniversary of Treaty of Rome

Donald Tusk was re-elected as President of the European Council for the period 1 June this year until 30 November 2019.

“Donald Tusk has done a good job in a difficult and challenging time, and continuity is a good idea in the situation in which we find ourselves,” said Mr Löfven.

On 10 March, the EU leaders held an informal discussion without the UK to prepare for the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome and to follow up on the discussion of the EU’s future held in Malta on 3 February.

“We will now look forward to see which issues we need to focus on more closely to create a united and dynamic EU that serves our citizens. The EU’s future is more important than ever in times of increased political tensions around the world,” said Mr Löfven at the end of the meeting.


Swedish Government