March European Council
The Council began preparations for the Spring European Council by discussing a provisional agenda. This meeting, which will take place on 9 and 10 March, will focus on measures to strengthen growth, create new jobs and improve competitiveness.
It will in particular take stock of member states' reform efforts and assess progress by the EU i in delivering on priorities such as further deepening the single market. Leaders will also assess what has been done to implement their December 2016 conclusions on security and defence. They will also address external relations in the light of recent events.
"The promotion of jobs together with economic growth and security featured high on the agenda, since we are aware of how essential these matters are for Europeans. The Spring European Council will address these issues and will provide the impetus for further progress. Today's Council helped ensure that we offer a better quality of life to our citizens"
Louis Grech i, Deputy Prime Minister of Malta and President of the Council
European public prosecutor's office
The Council registered the absence of unanimity in support of the regulation creating a European Public Prosecutor's office. This opens the way for a group of at least nine member states to refer the text for discussion to the European Council for a final attempt at securing consensus on the proposal. If this does not prove possible, enhanced cooperation can be considered.
"EPPO has been part of the Treaties since 2009. However, as the last six and a half years have shown its establishment has been elusive. I am positive that the Maltese presidency will achieve concrete results by continuing to act as an honest broker so that those member states who wish to launch enhanced cooperation do so under this presidency”
Owen Bonnici, Minister for Justice of Malta
Internal border controls
The Council recommended that Austria, Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Norway prolong temporary border controls for a maximum period of three months. The controls, which affect specific borders in these countries, should be limited to what is strictly necessary to respond to the exceptional circumstances resulting from the continued risk of secondary movements of irregular migrants.