Brussels, Dec 15 (EFE).- European Union leaders met in Brussels on Thursday for the last European Council summit of the year to discuss the bloc’s support for Ukraine, the energy crisis and security and defense issues.
It is “a summit with many serious, difficult items on the agenda. We will work to make it a summit of unity,” European Council president, Charles Michel, said upon his arrival at the headquarters of the institution.
A mooted cap on the price of gas to offset surging energy costs is expected to be discussed again after previous meetings failed to yield an agreement.
Greek prime minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, said he was “optimistic” that if “an agreement is not reached today, it will be reached on Monday” at an Energy Council, although German Chancellor Olaf Scholz was more cautious, saying the EU would reach “a common solution over time”.
The EU was also expected to reaffirm its financial, military and humanitarian support to Ukraine as the Russian-initiated war nears its 10th month, while condemning Moscow’s ongoing campaign of systematic missile attacks against Ukrainian civilians, civilian targets, energy infrastructure and other utilities to inflict even more suffering.
“EU leaders remain committed, together with partners, to offering financial relief and supporting Ukraine’s resilience and long-term reconstruction,” the Council said in a statement ahead of the meeting.
French president Emmanuel Macron highlighted the €1 billion mobilized at the recent Paris conference on Ukraine’s resilience and reconstruction and the €18 billion in financial assistance that has been agreed by the EU-27 at the political level but which is still pending formal ratification.
The ninth package of sanctions on Russia is also expected to be passed, whose approval is pending due to the introduction of potential exceptions requested by a group of member states including Spain, to ensure that they do not affect trade in food and fertilizers in third countries.
Lithuanian resident, Gitanas Nauseda, said that food safety “is important, but it should not be used as an excuse for a relaxation of sanctions to some Russian oligarchs, because every day the Ukrainian people are dying under Russian bombs”. EFE