The EU leaders of the European People’s Party (EPP) met ahead of today’s European Council in Brussels. The European Defence Action Plan, visa liberalisation for Ukraine and elections for the next President of the European Parliament topped the EPP Summit’s agenda. The EPP leaders have also adopted a declaration to strengthen security and defence cooperation among EU Member States. At the end of the meeting, EPP President Joseph Daul made the following statement:

“The security of European citizens is the top priority of EPP leaders. In order to deliver on this, EPP leaders are committed to more cooperation among EU Member States in the area of security and defence. We will put research and military equipment capabilities together at European level and save between €25 and €100 billion per year in taxpayer money. Only through common efforts will we achieve better results. European security is interconnected. We must avoid duplications between NATO and the EU by ensuring complementarity. With growing threats both inside and outside the EU, the best way to protect our citizens is to pool and share among ourselves within the framework of the European Union. We need strong security and defence not to make war but to maintain peace.”

EPP leaders also demonstrated their strong support for granting visa liberalisation to the Ukrainian and Georgian people without any delay.

EPP President Joseph Daul continued: “Ukrainian and Georgian authorities have been carrying out unprecedented reforms in order to comply with EU rules and obtain visa-free travel for their people. Taking into consideration the progress achieved by both countries, the EPP leaders fully support visa liberalisation, without any delay. The European Parliament and the European Commission have given a similar recommendation, and we expect the Council to follow suit. Non-delivery of immediate, visa-free travel, after all conditions have been fully met on all sides, would represent a blow to EU credibility — the EU should stick to its promises.”

Finally, EPP leaders expressed full support for EPP Vice-President Antonio Tajani, who was recently elected as the EPP Group’s candidate for President of the European Parliament.

“The EPP family fully stands behind Antonio Tajani MEP in his race to become the next EP President. The Socialists must respect the agreement they signed. During these difficult times, as Europe strives to manage constant challenges, EU citizens need a reliable majority in the European Parliament that can deliver concrete results and continue fighting for European principles and values,” concluded EPP President Joseph Daul.