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Brussels: EU summit rounds off year of 'unprecedented' challenges

brussels bureau

Brussels: EU summit rounds off year of 'unprecedented' challenges



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A tough year for the EU is coming to an end, one that has been dominated by the migration crisis, terrorism and efforts to avoid a Brexit.

The year has been, as one leader put it, full of “unprecedented” challenges.

Following the final summit of 2015 in Brussels, the message from the top was clear.

“I’ve said that I don’t have the slightest bit of illusion about 2016,” European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker told reporters.

“I think the problems ahead are similar to those we’re leaving unsolved at the end of 2015.”

Britain’s David Cameron has left the summit in buoyant mood after EU reform talks, described as “substantive and constructive.”

“It’s going to be tough and there’s a lot of hard work to do,” said Cameron.

“But I believe that 2016 will be the year we achieve something really vital, fundamentally changing the UK’s relationship with the EU. And finally addressing the concerns of the British people about our membership.”

This year’s migration crisis highlighted cracks in the European Union. Leaders admit that solidarity has been fragile at times, but they say bonds remain.

Speaking from Brussels, euronews reporter Efi Koutsokosta said: “The refugee crisis, terrorism, Britain and economic recovery – they’re the main challenges that remain for the EU. It’s been a very difficult year, which has seen many extraordinary, high level meetings.

“The European family has experienced some of the toughest internal clashes. Unity is still at stake in 2016.”


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