The face-to-face summit of EU heads of state and government that should have been held this Thursday and Friday in Brussels is postponed at least a week due to the coronavirus. The President of the European Council, the Belgian Liberal Charles Michel, has been put this Tuesday quarantined after learning that a security agent with whom he had close contact has tested positive for Covid-19.
Although the last test that Michel himself took yesterday was negative, his decision has been to delay the summit to October 1 and 2 as a precaution. This same Tuesday, the President of the European Council had held a videoconference with the Chancellor Angela Merkel and with the Turkish president, Recep Tayipp Erdogan, to prepare the meeting, which had the relations between the EU and Turkey as one of its highlights.
“The President of the European Council learned today that a security officer with whom you were in close contact At the beginning of last week he tested positive for Covid, “Barend Leyts, Michel’s spokesman, said in a Twitter thread.
The @eucopresident today learned that a security officer, with whom he was in close contact early last week, tested positive for COVID.
The President is tested regularly and tested negative yesterday. ⁰
Respecting Belgian rules, he has gone into quarantine as of today.
– Barend Leyts (@BarendLeyts) September 22, 2020
“The president tests himself on a regular basis and tested negative yesterday. Following Belgian rules, he has been quarantined as of today. And it has decided to postpone the special meeting of the European Council that was scheduled for September 24 and 25 until October 1 and 2, “the spokesman explained.
Despite the suspension of the summit, the President of the Government, Pedro SanchezYes, he will travel to Brussels this Wednesday and maintains the agenda of previous bilateral meetings that he had scheduled in the Belgian capital on the occasion of the European Council.
Sánchez will meet in the morning with the Secretary General of NATO, Jens stoltenberg, and then you will meet with the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security, Josep Borrell. In the afternoon, the President of the Government will hold meetings with the Commissioner for Economic Affairs, Paolo Gentiloni, and with the president of the Commission, Ursula von der Leyen.
In addition to the Turkey issue, the agenda for this week’s summit also included sanctions on Belarus for fraud in the August elections, EU-China relations, and the state of the negotiations brexit.
European leaders were also planning to discuss how restore a fully operational single market after the Covid-19 crisis, as well as the strengthening of the EU industrial policy and possible formulas to accelerate the digital transition.