European Council to focus on migration and Ukraine

EU flag.
EU flag. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

The European Council in Brussels on Thursday will focus on migration and the war in Ukraine. Estonia will be tasked with explaining how Russia's frozen assets could be used to rebuild Ukraine.

On Thursday and Friday, at a meeting of the European Council, Estonian heads of state and government will discuss support for Ukraine and the EU defense industry.

This includes discussions of the single market, competition and migration issues, as well as economic security. The leaders of the EU will also discuss China.

The focus in the Mediterranean and Western European nations is unmistakably on migration.

A few weeks ago, the countries came to an agreement on a new migration plan but Poland and Hungary, who oppose it, have threatened to fight.

While the decision was made with a qualified majority, all the members have to agree with the conclusions. The objections of Prime Ministers Mateusz Morawiecki and Viktor Orban, which will undoubtedly earn them political points at home, could delay the process.

The Mediterranean countries afflicted by migration would rather discuss concrete ideas, both at Turkey's borders and in Tunisia.

Earlier this month, a delegation headed by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen visited Tunisia; the European Union wants to revitalize Tunisia's economy and bolster its border administration in order to reduce the number of migrants crossing the Mediterranean.

Eastern European countries continue to view the situation in Ukraine as the most pressing matter.

For Estonia it is important that the EU continues to support Ukraine in every way, claiming that Ukraine's victory depends not only on success on the battlefield, but also on Europe's ability to dry up the sources of income with which the Kremlin is financing its aggression.

While Estonia is eager to talk about rebuilding Ukraine with frozen Russian assets and those of Russian oligarchs, some member states are deeply skeptical of this idea and will almost certainly oppose it.

Concerns voiced this week by the European Central Bank (ECB) that providing Ukraine interest income from frozen assets could jeopardize the euro's credibility as a currency further support such reservations. Prime Minister Kaja Kallas will need to do a great deal of persuading and explaining on this matter.

Also, there is no way of avoiding Yevgeny Prigozhin, Chinese investment or the American deflation measure; it will become evident by Thursday evening which of these concerns will receive the most attention.

Estonia is also adamant about establishing a special court to investigate and prosecute Russia's aggression-related offenses, to discuss Europe's irrevocably changed security situation that leads to the necessity to further strengthen its own security and boost the scale of European defense industry operations.


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Editor: Kristina Kersa

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