The European Council discussed trade and its potential as an engine for growth and job creation. The EU remains determined to promote free, fair and open trade and to fight protectionism; it also remains committed to a strong rules-based multilateral system. The EU should pursue bilateral trade agreements with key partners such as the USA, Japan and Canada.
EU leaders also discussed external relations. They assessed developments in the Arab world and the southern Mediterranean in the aftermath of the Arab Spring and considered further action to promote democracy, prosperity and stability. They also discussed the situation in Mali.