» Thursday, June 19, 2008

EU Council

Asked if there would be a communique released tonight, the PMS replied that the session would be continuing into tomorrow. The concluding Presidency press conference would also be tomorrow. There was a working dinner this evening and the first working session of the European Council on policy implications of food and oil prices was this afternoon, so people would have to wait and see if anything came out after those.

The Prime Minister had commented after his meeting with President Sarkozy in Paris and at this stage there was nothing else anticipated from him tonight. Asked whether the Prime Minister would be having any bilaterals this evening, the PMS said that we would update people on any bilaterals that the Prime Minister had in advance of the working session later this afternoon.

Asked what the Prime Minister had discussed with President Sarkozy, the PMS said that the Prime Minister, in his statement, had thanked President Sarkozy for his leadership and reiterated the agenda that the French President intended to bring forward when France took over the Presidency in the next few weeks. They discussed the situation surrounding the Irish "no" vote as well as high oil and food prices and what we could do to give people hope that their standards of living could improve over the next few years as a result of the actions we took in Europe and globally. Foreign Affairs and the deteriorating situation in Zimbabwe were also discussed.

Asked if it was right to assume that the Prime Minister and the President had agreed a common position on the Irish "no" vote and that that position was to wait until October, the PMS replied that the Prime Minister had said that we would support the Irish in their decisions as to how they wished to take the situation forward. There had been discussions with President Barosso, which had resulted in taking this issue forward to the next EU Council meeting in October.

Asked if this had disappointed the Prime Minister, given that he had said in the past that he wanted Europe to get on with tackling the challenges that Europe faced, rather than focus on institutional matters, the PMS said that she did not think the two were mutually exclusive. The European Council would today be discussing exactly the challenges Europe and the people of Europe faced – i.e. oil and food and would continue to do so in this interim period.

Asked if the Prime Minister and President Sarkozy had discussed the President’s plans for a more proactive European defence policy, the PMS said that that was not something mentioned by the Prime Minister in his statement, but there had been no change from what the Prime Minister had said on the matter in PMQ’s yesterday.

original source.

Briefing took place at 16:45 | Search for related news

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