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Climate change, Brexit and COVID-19 at the EU summit


The European Union’s future relations with the United Kingdom and climate targets for 2030 were on the agenda when Prime Minister Stefan Löfven met the other EU leaders in Brussels on 15–16 October. The heads of state and government also discussed EU-Africa relations and the COVID-19 situation in the EU.

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven is speaking to journalists at a press conference.
"Yesterday’s summit of EU leaders primarily focused on climate change, Brexit and the COVID-19 situation,” said Mr Löfven after the summit. Photo: Representation of Sweden to the EU

The EU’s future relations with the UK

– There is strong consensus with regard to the negotiations on the future relations between the EU and the UK, and the negotiations are moving forward, but three very difficult matters remain unresolved. These are fisheries, a level playing field and dispute settlement, said Prime Minister Stefan Löfven after the summit.

On the first day of the summit, chief negotiator Michel Barnier updated the leaders on the EU-UK negotiations on the future relationship.

– Sweden naturally wants a deal, it is important for growth and employment. And we are united in the EU on continuing the negotiations. Both sides must do their utmost, said Mr Löfven.

EU climate targets for 2030

At the summit, the heads of state and government held an orientation debate on which climate targets the EU should achieve by 2030.

– With regard to the climate change issue, it is clear that there are different levels of ambition among the EU countries. Sweden and like-minded countries have therefore taken the initiative to support the Commission’s proposal to reduce emissions by at least 55 per cent by 2030, said Mr Löfven.

The European Council adopted the EU’s current climate targets for 2030 in 2014.

– We must not end up in a situation in which the current target of a 40 per cent reduction is retained. It would mean that we would be unable to meet the long-term target of zero climate impact by 2050, added Mr Löfven.


The EU leaders also held a general discussion about the COVID-19 situation in the Member States.

– The increasing spread of COVID-19 is concerning. We also discussed what we can do together. Health care and decisions on disease control are national matters, as they should be. But perhaps we could also coordinate more with each other, exchange more experiences and learn from each other to help each other in this difficult situation,” was how Mr Löfven summed up the evening’s discussion.


The heads of state and government also discussed EU-Africa relations ahead of the upcoming summit between the EU and the African Union, as well as other foreign policy issues.

Prime Minister Stefan Löfven represented Sweden at the summit in Brussels.

More about the EU summit 15-16 October