EU leaders at the June 20-21 summit called on the European Commission and the competent EEAS service to table “without delay” proposed sanctions against Turkey over its illegal drilling for hydrocarbons in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of member-state Cyprus.

It also issued re-issued a warning about Ankara’s illegal activity in the Aegean.

“The European Council endorses the invitation to the Commission and the EEAS to submit options for appropriate measures without delay, including targeted measures,” the summit conclusions stated, formally adopting at the highest level the recommendations of the 18 June General Affairs Council.

The EEAS is the European Union's diplomatic service which assists the EU's foreign affairs chief in carrying out the Union's Common Foreign and Security Policy.

It is expected to present the Council with a list of possible “targeted measures” in the immediate future.

It also reaffirmed the decision of the 22 March, 2018, EU summit’s statement “strongly condemning Turkey's continued illegal actions in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Aegean Sea.”

The strongly worded warning and threat of sanctions was in part the result of Cyprus’ firm insistence on an issue concerning a direct violation of its sovereign rights (with the implicit but clear threat of further hostile actions) by candidate-country Turkey, the accession course of which has already effectively put on hold following the severe blows to the rule of law in Turkey after the failed coup against Erdogan in July, 2016.

The 27 EU leaders at the summit concluded that:

“The European Council expresses serious concerns over Turkey's current illegal drilling activities in the Eastern Mediterranean and deplores that Turkey has not yet responded to the EU's repeated calls to cease such activities. The European Council underlines the serious immediate negative impact that such illegal actions have across the range of EU-Turkey relations.”

“The EU will continue to closely monitor developments and stands ready to respond appropriately and in full solidarity with Cyprus. The European Council will remain seized of the matter and will revert accordingly. “