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European Summit: Leaders discuss security, defense and immigration

Reporter: Mariam Zaidi 丨 CCTV.com

12-16-2016 10:27 BJT

The final European Summit before Christmas got underway in Brussels on Thursday. On the agenda: security and defense, migration, and the hope that the Netherlands would climb down from its refusal to ratify the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement. 

2016 has been a year to forget for the EU. But one emerging element over the last few months: - to improve collective security and defence. It really framed the context of this summit. The EU no longer wants to be seen as a soft power. It wants to be able to protect its citizens.

At the European Council, leaders mulled over the new three-pronged action plan on defence. With further steps to be taken next year.

The meeting also provided a final opportunity to break the impasse over the EU-Ukraine Association agreement. Dutch voters had rejected it a referendum in April. But any concessions made here, still need to be approved by the Dutch Parliament if that vote is to be overturned.

Leaders agree on 6-month extension of sanctions on Russia

But one thing that was agreed: a 6 month extension of EU sanctions on Russia. On arrival at the Summit in the morning, French President Francois Hollande called the final assault by the Assad regime and its allies - namely Russia and Iran - as a massacre.

On Thursday evacuation of civilians and rebels finally got underway and the EU Foreign Affairs Chief Federica Mogherini said the protection of citizens is the top priority.

Meanwhile British Prime Minister Theresa May is doing her best to ensure UK has a place at the table, but maybe not quite.