New broom ends EU summit a day early

2014-12-19 07:53

In a striking symbol of changed leadership, European Union leaders wrapped up their last summit of the year a day early after agreeing to launch an investment fund and maintain sanctions on Russia over Ukraine.

New European Council president Donald Tusk, chairing his first summit, made a point of keeping the meeting short and political, without the customary wrangling over the wording of a rambling final statement, known in EU jargon as “conclusions”.

“European Council finished. On time,” the former Polish prime minister tweeted after the 28 leaders ended about eight hours of discussion. EU officials said it was the first time in memory that a two-day summit had been cut short in this way.

The two-and-a-half page broad statement compared with up to 40 pages of detailed policy conclusions at previous summits, when leaders would negotiate for hours over a handful of phrases. The last EU summit conclusions in October ran to 15 pages.

Tusk has imposed a new, more informal and political style since taking over on December 1 from former Belgian premier Herman van Rompuy, who was used to marathon coalition negotiations.

Aides said Tusk wanted heads of state and government to focus on their original mission of giving strategic guidance to the EU rather than haggling over up to a dozen detailed policy issues from carbon emissions quotas to budget rebates.

Unlike Van Rompuy, he set out his own views on the short summit agenda to reporters on his way into the meeting.

Sceptics said the summit agenda was unusually thin, with no substantial issues of money or power at stake. Whether Tusk’s resolution will stand the test of a crisis remains to be seen.

But his style won at least one important fan. German Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters: “Personally I felt very comfortable with the new council president.

“And we even finished before midnight.”

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.