European Council conclusions on the Western Balkans and actions by Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Aegean Sea, 22 March 2018

Western Balkans

Against the background of the Commission Communication of 6 February 2018, the European Council:

  • looks forward to the EU-Western Balkans Summit to be held in Sofia on 17 May 2018, which is expected to focus on reaffirming the European perspective of the region, launching concrete and visible initiatives to improve the physical and human connectivity within the region and with the EU, and addressing how to better engage together on shared challenges such as security and migration;
  • confirms that enlargement will be addressed by the Council in June.

Actions by Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Aegean Sea

The European Council strongly condemns Turkey’s continued illegal actions in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Aegean Sea and underlines its full solidarity with Cyprus and Greece.

Recalling its conclusions of October 2014 and the Declaration of 21 September 2005, the European Council urgently calls on Turkey to cease these actions and respect the sovereign rights of Cyprus to explore and exploit its natural resources in accordance with EU and International Law.

In this context, it recalls Turkey’s obligation to respect International Law and good neighbourly relations, and normalize relations with all EU Member States including the Republic of Cyprus.

The European Council expressed its grave concern over the continued detention of EU citizens in Turkey, including two Greek soldiers, and calls for the swift and positive resolution of these issues in a dialogue with Member States.

The European Council will remain seized of these matters.