The Extraordinary European Council was held in Brussels on 17-18 April, following important international events in the Middle East. Gathered in the Belgian capital, heads of state and government of member countries expressed their support for Ukraine and strong condemnation of Iranian bombings against Israel. Important domestic policy issues were also discussed at the center of the two days. Among other things, the hope was expressed to strengthen European industry and the strategic autonomy of the Union. Aspects that can no longer be postponed, in an increasingly tense and polarized geopolitical context. A strong and cohesive Europe seems to be the only solution to respond to the winds of crisis that are shaking the planet.

The extraordinary European Council after the Iranian attack

Saturday April 13 hundreds of drones and missiles fired at Israel of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Tehran claimed responsibility for the attack in response “to the unprecedented incursion” (International Affairs, April 2), carried out by Israel against the Iranian embassy in Damascus on April 1. The targeted Israeli attack resulted in the deaths of 13 people, including the highest-ranking Iranian officer serving in Syria, Mohammad Reza Zahedi.

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The Iranian response caused no casualties or damage, thanks to the Iron Dome missile defense system and the support of some Western and Arab states. But, inevitably, this sparked reactions of condemnation from the EU and US and calls for restraint and moderation. de-escalation by Russia and China. THE Extraordinary European Council he reaffirmed the condemnation of the Iranian attackreiterating “commitment to Israeli security and regional stability”.

Furthermore, the summit of heads of state and government did not fail to address the situation in Gaza. To this end, the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 2728, adopted on 25 March, constitutes a key point for the European Council. In the resolution yes calls for Israel's commitment to a “ceasefire” on Gaza well yes calls on Hamas to immediately release the hostages. It is also necessary to guarantee – according to the European Council – “full, rapid, safe and unrestricted access to humanitarian assistance (…) to Palestinians in need”.

Strengthening European industry and seeking strategic autonomy

After tackling the Ukrainian chapter – emphasizing the importance of equipping kyiv's troops with air defense weapons – the extraordinary European Council turned to domestic politics. To this end, the former Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta presented his report on the single market of the European Union.

In the document we read that it is necessary for Europe to strengthen its European industry, vector of strategic autonomy. In this regard, energy networks and connections with third countries deserve particular attention. Without forgetting the demographic problemone of the causes of the decline of the Union economy and the main risk factor for the sustainability of the future.

The Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni agreed on the challenges presented by his predecessor at Palazzo Chigi. He added, furthermore, that he had addressed the migration issue with President Von der Leyen, communicating to her the significant results obtained thanks to the agreement with Tunisia. The country received a visit from the Prime Minister on the morning of the start of the summit, shortly before his arrival in Brussels.

All that remains is to achieve the set goals

The Extraordinary European Council, the last of the current legislature, substantially confirms the objectives already previously declared by the EU. The Union is called upon to face an increasingly fragile international situation. And it is unthinkable that it would do so with only the weapons of diplomacy, often in contradiction with each other. For this reason, it is it is inconceivable to envisage a geopolitically competitive Europe without a strong European industry.. Without having strategic autonomy and the most unequivocal voice on a common foreign policy. all questions on which the new Commission will have to reflect which will be voted on next June. In the meantime, we can only positively note that guidelines to follow have been drawn up. All that remains is to move on to the “facts”.


[1] Extraordinary meeting of the European Council (17 and 18 April 2024) – Conclusions

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