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newsEuropean Council 26-27 October 2023

Main results

EU leaders discussed the unfolding situation in the Middle East, continued support for Ukraine and the revision of the EU’s long-term budget 2021-2027.

They also discussed economic growth in the EU, migration and external relations.

Euro Summit was held in the margins of the meeting.

Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine

Ukraine is a priority and will remain a priority.

European Council President Charles Michel, 27 October 2023

EU leaders reiterated their resolute condemnation of Russia’s war and unwavering solidarity with Ukraine and its people.

over €82 billion

overall EU and member states' assistance to Ukraine

So far, the EU and its member states have made available over €82 billion to Ukraine. They will continue to strongly support Ukraine for as long as it takes, including by economic, humanitarian, military and diplomatic means.


The EU is committed to supporting displaced persons, both in Ukraine and in the EU, including through support to member states who carry the largest burden of the medical, education and living costs of refugees.

In this regard, the leaders welcomed the extension of the temporary protection for displaced persons from Ukraine until March 2025.

Military support

The EU and its member states will continue to provide sustainable military support to Ukraine, including through the European Peace Facility, an off-budget fund to prevent conflicts and build peace, the military assistance mission to Ukraine and bilateral assistance.

40 000

Ukrainian soldiers to be trained by the end of 2023

To help Ukraine meet its most pressing military and security needs, EU leaders stressed the need to accelerate the delivery of ammunition, missiles and air defence systems.

To deter acts of aggression and destabilisation efforts in the future, the EU will, together with partners, also contribute to future security commitments to Ukraine.

Reconstruction of Ukraine

Noting that Russia is responsible for the massive damage it has caused in the wake of its war, EU leaders expressed their full commitment to Ukraine’s recovery and its reconstruction.

In this regard, EU leaders underlined the importance of determining how any extraordinary revenues held by private entities stemming directly from Russia’s immobilised assets could be used to support Ukraine, consistent with applicable contractual obligations and in accordance with international and EU law. They invited the High Representative and the European Commission to accelerate their work and to submit proposals on this.

Accountability of perpetrators

The EU is firmly committed to ensuring that Russia is held fully accountable for its war

In this context, the leaders called for work to continue on the:

  • tribunal for the prosecution of the crime of aggression against Ukraine

  • establishment of a future compensation mechanism

EU leaders also called for the immediate safe return of Ukrainian civilians, including children, who have been unlawfully deported to Russia and Belarus.

Sanctions against Russia

EU leaders stressed the need to further increase pressure on Russia in order to weaken its ability to wage its war, including by:

  • further strengthening sanctions

  • ensuring full and effective implementation of sanctions

  • preventing circumvention of sanctions, especially for high-risks goods

Belarus, Iran and North Korea

EU leaders condemned the continued military support for Russia provided by Belarus and Iran. They also urged all countries, particularly North Korea, not to provide material or other support for Russia’s war.

In this context, the EU will intensify its work with partners to counter false Russian narratives and disinformation about the war.

The leaders also expressed their deep disappointment that the Russian parliament had passed a law to withdraw Russia’s ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT).

Global food security

Russia continues to use food as a weapon, thereby undermining global food security. EU leaders expressed their deep concern about Russia’s unilateral decision to end the implementation of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, its deliberate attacks on Ukraine’s grain storage and export facilities, and its actions to hinder the freedom of navigation in the Black Sea.

In this respect, the leaders expressed their support for efforts to facilitate exports of Ukraine’s grain and other agricultural products to countries in need, including in Africa and the Middle East. 

They also called for the capacity of the EU’s solidarity lanes to be further enhanced to facilitate transit and export, and invited the Commission to propose new measures to achieve this.

Middle East

In light of Hamas’ brutal and indiscriminate terrorist attack against Israel and the unfolding tragic scenes in the Gaza Strip, EU leaders reviewed the state of play and different strands of action, including concerted efforts to assist EU citizens.

In a follow-up to the statement they released on 15 October 2023 and the extraordinary European Council meeting held two days later, they also reaffirmed their:

  • condemnation of Hamas in the strongest possible terms

  • recognition of Israel’s right to defend itself in line with international law and international humanitarian law

  • call on Hamas to immediately release all hostages without any precondition

The leaders underlined the importance of ensuring the protection of all civilians at all times. They also expressed their grave concern regarding the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Gaza and called for continued, rapid, safe and unhindered humanitarian access and aid to reach those in need, including through humanitarian corridors and pauses for humanitarian needs.

The leaders stressed that the EU will work with partners in the region to:

  • protect civilians

  • ensure that assistance is not abused by terrorist organisations

  • facilitate access to food, water, medical care, fuel and shelter

To avoid regional escalation, the leaders emphasised the need to engage with partners in the region, including the Palestinian Authority. They also expressed their support for a two-state solution and welcomed diplomatic initiatives, including supporting the holding of an international peace conference soon.

Mid-term revision of the EU long-term budget 2021-2027

EU leaders held an in-depth discussion on the mid-term revision of the EU’s long-term budget, the multiannual financial framework (MFF) for 2021-2027, including on the most pressing needs and how to finance future priorities.

The MFF provides for the financing of programmes and actions in all policy areas in line with the EU’s long-term priorities. Since it was adopted in 2020, the EU has faced unprecedented and unexpected challenges, from the consequences of Russia’s war of aggression on Ukraine to an acceleration in inflation and interest rates.

Against this background, on 20 June 2023 the Commission presented three legislative proposals to reinforce the EU budget in a limited number of areas.

In this context, EU leaders invited the Council to take forward the work on the mid-term revision with a view to reaching an overall agreement by the end of the year.

Economy and competitiveness

The EU needs a strong economic base that ensures its long-term competitiveness and a level playing field both internally and globally, with a fully functioning Single Market and its four freedoms at its core.

European Council conclusions, 26 and 27 October 2023

The European Council underlined the need to accelerate work on: 

  • developing the EU’s competitive edge in digital and clean technologies

  • securing a sufficient supply of clean and affordable energy

  • reducing key critical dependencies and diversifying supply chains through strategic partnerships 

  • fostering the transition towards a more circular economy

EU leaders also called for: 

  • prompt agreement on the critical raw materials act, the net-zero industry act and the reform of the electricity market design

  • swift follow-up to the Commission communication on addressing medicine shortages in the EU, while ensuring better access to medicines and an innovative and competitive pharmaceutical sector

  • work to start on joint risk assessments, in view of the recommendation on critical technology areas

  • the Commission to address distortive effects of tariffs and subsidies by global actors and to work on mitigating the problematic and discriminatory elements of the US inflation reduction act

  • the Council to take work forward on the economic governance review, with a view to concluding legislative work in 2023 


EU leaders held a strategic discussion on migration.

Following the recent European Council meeting in Granada, President Michel stressed the importance of immediately addressing irregular migration and called for a comprehensive approach to migration in compliance with international law and EU principles and values.


EU leaders strongly condemned the recent terrorist attacks in France and Belgium, killing and injuring Swedish and French nationals.

The EU is united and firm in the fight against terrorism, hatred and violent extremism of all kinds. In this regard, EU leaders called on the EU institutions and the member states to enhance internal security at national and EU level by strengthening:

  • law enforcement and judicial cooperation

  • information exchanges

  • protection of external borders

  • the fight against smugglers

  • cooperation with third countries

Climate change

The increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather events highlight the urgency of the global response to the climate emergency.

In view of the upcoming 28th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) in Dubai, the leaders called for:

  • increased global action and ambition so that global greenhouse gas emissions peak at the latest before 2025

  • broad support for the global renewables and energy efficiency pledge

External relations

Belgrade-Pristina dialogue

EU leaders are deeply concerned about the security situation in the north of Kosovo* and strongly condemn the violent attacks against Kosovo police in September 2023. In this context, they called on Serbia to cooperate fully to ensure that the perpetrators are swiftly brought to justice.

Stressing that the normalisation of relations is essential for them to advance on their respective European paths, EU leaders called on both parties to:

  • de-escalate tensions

  • ensure that new elections in the north of Kosovo are held as soon as possible

  • implement the agreements reached in the EU-facilitated dialogue


EU leaders underlined their continued support for a sustainable and lasting peace between Armenia and Azerbaijan, based on the principles of recognition of sovereignty, inviolability of borders and territorial integrity. They also underlined the importance of ensuring the rights and security of the Karabakh Armenians, including those who wish to return to their homes.

In this respect, they called on the parties to engage in good faith and finalise the Brussels normalisation process by the end of this year.

The Sahel

EU leaders held a strategic discussion on the situation in the Sahel. In view of the deteriorating security and humanitarian situation, the leaders:

  • called for the immediate release of President Bazoum and his family

  • invited the High Representative and the Commission to present options for EU actions and instruments

* This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244/1999 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.