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Brexit, enlargement and the long-term budget at the EU Summit


Brexit, EU enlargement and the EU’s long-term budget were among the issues that Prime Minister Stefan Löfven raised when he met his EU colleagues on 17–18 October. The heads of state and government also discussed the situation in Syria and Turkey.


The negotiations on a new agreement for the UK’s withdrawal from the EU – Brexit – continued up to the last minute ahead of the European Council Summit. A few hours before the start of the summit, the UK and EU negotiators agreed on a new proposal for a withdrawal agreement that received the support of the heads of state and government.

“My colleagues and I have now given our support to the agreement on the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, including a new solution on how to deal with the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland,” said Prime Minister Stefan Löfven after the summit.

“We regret that the UK has chosen to leave the EU. The EU makes us stronger and safer together, and the UK has been an important partner in this cooperation,” Mr Löfven continued.

Enlargement and Turkey

The heads of state and government had a long dinner discussion on EU enlargement, but decided to resume the discussion at a later summit.

“This is of course a great disappointment for both countries. Many people particularly sympathise with North Macedonia, which has made real efforts considering the name change,” Mr Löfven said after the summit.

The heads of state and government also discussed Turkey’s test drilling in the eastern Mediterranean, the migration situation and the country’s military action in Syria. They condemned Turkey’s military action in north-eastern Syria.

EU’s long-term budget for 2021–2027

The heads of state and government discussed the long-term budget at the summit. Discussions on the EU’s long-term budget have been under way on several levels since last spring.

“We had a good discussion on the EU’s long-term budget,” said Mr Löfven after the summit. “It included the budget’s total volume. No decisions were taken and the discussions will continue.”

The EU leaders had an initial discussion on how large the budget should be, how resources should be allocated in the budget, and how breaches of the rule of law must result in the relevant country receiving less EU funds. The EU’s long-term budget will also be on the agenda the next time the EU leaders meet, which will be in December.

EU climate strategy

The EU leaders also discussed which climate objectives the EU should set in its long-term climate strategy. The heads of state and government will revisit the EU climate strategy when they meet in December.

Future issues for the EU

At the last summit, the heads of state and government identified climate, migration, security and a strong economy as important focus areas for the EU in 2020–2024. At the summit, the EU leaders discussed these future issues together with Ursula von der Leyen, the President-elect of the European Commission.