Prime Minister Theresa May’s Press Statement at European Council
23 June 2017
At this European Council, we dealt with a broad ranging agenda.
We covered issues that are of critical importance to the UK now – such as counter-terrorism and climate change. These issues will remain important after we leave the EU.
That is why we will play a full role while we are members of the European Union, and why we want a deep and special partnership with our EU friends and allies after we leave.
Last night, I was also able to update other leaders on the UK’s proposal to give reassurance and certainty to EU citizens who have made their homes and lives in our country.
Let me deal with a few of the items I and other leaders discussed.
On security, there was strong commitment around the table to stand firm in the fight against terrorism and the online extremism that incites terrorism.
I was able to thank our European partners in person for their support and condolence following the appalling attacks in Manchester and London.
Those attacks have not just affected British citizens, but citizens from across Europe – just as British people suffered in the attacks in Paris and Stockholm.
And I say this in a city which has itself suffered great loss from terrorist attacks.
These atrocities have strengthened the need for us to work together to keep our countries safe.
So I urged other leaders to put pressure on technology companies to do more to rid extremist content from the internet and to ensure that law enforcement agencies can access encrypted data.
That is what has been agreed at this European Council, and it builds on the recent work I have done with President Macron of France.
We must continue to work together to combat this evil, to defend our values, and to keep our citizens safe.
On defence, we have welcomed plans for Europe to step up cooperation on capabilities, and for the EU and NATO to work more closely together. The UK will always be committed to the defence of Europe.
On climate change, this European Council reaffirmed the commitment of the EU and all Member States to fully implement the Paris Agreement.
The UK welcomes that joint commitment.
We discussed the importance of the EU pursuing an ambitious trade policy, delivering jobs and growth. That trade must be fair as well as free. And the UK will continue to play a leading role in pushing for openness in global trade.
On migration, I emphasised the UK would continue to play its part in tackling the ongoing migration crisis – which is a challenge for our entire continent.
The Council recommitted to a comprehensive approach to the crisis. That means dealing with the drivers of migration while also doing more to stem the flow of migration.
This summit focussed on the Central Mediterranean route, and I confirmed a new UK bilateral commitment of £75 million to meet urgent humanitarian needs while also facilitating voluntary returns of migrants making these treacherous journeys.
Finally, after the constructive start to our Brexit negotiations earlier this week, I wanted to briefly set out to my fellow European leaders the UK’s approach to giving reassurance and certainty to EU citizens living in the UK.
I want all those EU citizens who are in the UK, who’ve made their lives and homes in our country to know that no one will have to leave. We won’t be seeing families split apart. People will be able to go on their living their lives as before.
This is a fair and serious offer – it gives those three million EU citizens in the UK certainty about the future of their lives, and we want the same certainty for the more than one million UK citizens who are living in the European Union.
On Monday, I will publish my proposals in full – and look forward to reaching an agreement at the earliest possible date.
Now, any questions?