The European People’s Party (EPP) leaders met today in Brussels ahead of the European Council. In the margins of the meeting, the EPP President Joseph Daul stated:

“I would like to congratulate Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and the Austrian Presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU) for their work on building a Europe that protects. In particular, we hail their progress on the post-2020 Multiannual Financial Framework. The agreement on the negotiation box lays a very good basis for further progress.”

The EPP leaders congratulated Kurz on the successful Presidency and thanked him for his achievements over the past 6 months at the helm of the European Union. They also discussed Brexit and called for clarity on the future EU/UK relationship.

“After 18 months of intensive negotiations, the EU and UK reached the best possible agreement for both sides, within the framework of EU law. The ball is now in the court of the United Kingdom. There can be no reopening of the agreement but we are open to providing further clarifications. The backstop is a safety mechanism only intended to be used as a last resort to avoid a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland and to preserve integrity of the Single Market and protect the four freedoms. The time for indecision is over and it is also high time to focus on the scope and shape of the future EU-UK relationship.”

The EPP leaders also held a minute’s silence to commemorate the victims of the attack in Strasbourg and reiterated their commitment to making Europe safer.