RESULTS OF THE GENERAL AFFAIRS COUNCIL – 26 JUNE

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RESULTS OF THE GENERAL AFFAIRS COUNCIL - 26 JUNE
26 Jun 2018

RESULTS OF THE GENERAL AFFAIRS COUNCIL – 26 JUNE

Brussels, Brussels Daily

Brexit: Main Results General Affairs Council (Art. 50) below.  Full results available here

The Council, in EU27 format, was briefed by the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier on the state of play in the Brexit negotiations with a focus on the next steps.

Ministers made comments on the progress and the next steps on the remaining topics, including the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, and on the framework for the future relationship with the UK.

Ministers also examined the draft conclusions to be adopted by the European Council (Article 50) on Friday 29 June 2018. The Heads of State or Government will take stock of progress in the negotiations. Leaders are expected to highlight the importance of advancing on all remaining issues, including the border with Northern Ireland; of receiving workable and realistic proposals from the United Kingdom on the future relationship; and of working on preparedness.

With March 2019 quickly approaching, we need to find solutions to all remaining issues in a timely manner and in full respect of commitments taken so far. Regarding the framework for the future relationship, we need realistic and workable proposals from the UK as regards its position. The work on preparedness at all levels and for all outcomes must be stepped up.

Main Results of the General Affairs Council below.  Full results here

Enlargement

The Council adopted conclusions on the EU’s enlargement policy and the stabilisation and association process.

The conclusions reaffirm the EU’s commitment to the enlargement process and to the European perspective of the Western Balkans.

The Council agreed to respond positively to the progress made by the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Albania, and set out the path towards opening accession negotiations with both countries in June 2019.

This is an important day for Albania and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and for the Western Balkans as a whole. Member states have sent a clear signal that efforts to reform and foster reconciliation, good neighbourly relations and political dialogue to solve longstanding issues pay off. These are of direct benefit to the countries themselves, and of wider value in bringing them closer to the EU. This is a major achievement as we come to the end of our Presidency, since the European perspective of the Western Balkans has been a top priority for us.

Ekaterina Zaharieva, Bulgarian deputy prime minister for judicial reform and minister for foreign affairs

June European Council

The Council finalised preparations for the European Council meeting of 28 June 2018 by discussing draft conclusions.

At this meeting EU leaders are expected to:

  • discuss EU migration policy and trade
  • address a number of issues related to security and defence
  • adopt conclusions on taxation, innovation and digital issues
  • decide on the future handling of the multi-annual financial framework, including a timeline
  • address the latest foreign policy developments
  • endorse integrated country-specific recommendations under the European Semester
  • adopt a decision on the composition of the European Parliament

Rule of law in Poland

The Council held a hearing under Article 7(1) TEU on the rule of law in Poland.

The hearing offered a possibility for ministers to have an in-depth exchange with Poland on the concerns identified in the Commission’s reasoned proposal.

Next multiannual financial framework

Over lunch, ministers discussed the Commission’s proposals for the multiannual financial framework for 2021–2027 with Commissioner Oettinger.

Aviation safety

The Council adopted without discussion updated aviation safety rules, including a revised mandate for the European Aviation Safety Agency and the first ever EU-wide rules for civil drones.

These rules will ensure that flying remains safe even when our skies become increasingly busy.

Ivaylo Moskovski, Bulgarian minister for transport, information technology and communications

European Citizens’ Initiative

The Council agreed without discussion its negotiating position on a proposed revision of the European Citizens’ Initiative. The aim of the new rules is to make it easier to launch and support initiatives and to increase their impact.

Citizens must be able to make their voice heard and draw the attention of EU decision-makers to matters close to their heart. The European Citizens’ Initiative offers everyone the opportunity to make a difference. Member states are determined to ensure that this important tool is both simple to use and effective.

Ekaterina Zaharieva, Bulgarian deputy prime minister for judicial reform and minister for foreign affairs

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