Historic turning point or just another chapter?

Janis A. Emmanouilidis

Post-Summit Analysis

Brussels 03/2014

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The March 2014 European Council could enter the history books as a turning point, not only in the EU’s relations with Russia but also in its role as foreign policy actor. Events in Ukraine inevitably dominated the Summit, with EU leaders adopting a balanced approach aimed at achieving three key objectives – de-escalation, containment/deterrence and cooperation – based on political and economic support for Ukraine, increased but limited pressure on Russia, and moves to strengthen ties with other EU neighbours.

The Summit also discussed a range of economic and environmental policy issues, with the situation in Ukraine casting a long shadow over the discussion on energy policy, but failed to reach agreement on the EU’s climate goals to 2030 or to put more flesh on the bones of calls for a European “industrial renaissance”. However, two other developments were particularly significant: the creation of the second pillar of the future banking union, establishing a single regime for winding down failing banks; and changes to the savings tax directive, bringing years of negotiation to an end.

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