15 Dec 2015
RESULTS GENERAL AFFAIRS COUNCIL – 15 DECEMBERBrussels Daily
Main results General Affairs Council, 15/12/2015
The Council approved a provisional agreement on better law-making reached with the European Parliament and the Commission. The agreement will improve the way the European Union legislates so that EU laws better serve citizens and businesses. It will also ensure that EU legislation focuses on areas where it has the greatest added value for European citizens, and that laws are simple and clear. It aims at avoiding overregulation and reducing the administrative burdens for citizens and businesses, especially SMEs. The agreement provides for closer co-operation between the institutions, in particular in the area of legislative programming. It also gives greater weight to impact assessments of new initiatives, as well as to greater transparency and public consultation in the legislative process. “The agreement on better law-making reflects the joint commitment of the EU institutions to make the life of citizens and companies easier. Laws need to be simple to understand and to implement, and that’s precisely what the agreement seeks to ensure”, said Minister Nicolas Schmit, in charge of the negotiations on behalf of the Luxembourg presidency of the Council with the European Parliament and the Commission.
The Council adopted conclusions on the EU’s enlargement policy and the EU-Western Balkans stabilisation and association process. The conclusions reaffirm the Council’s commitment to the enlargement process and to the European perspective of the Western Balkans.
The Council concluded the preparations of the December European Council by examining draft conclusions. At their meeting on 17 and 18 December European leaders will address six issues: migration, with a focus on the implementation of existing commitments, in particular on hotspots, relocations, returns and external border controls, the fight against terrorism following the tragic events in Paris, economic and monetary union following the publication of the five Presidents’ report, the internal market, energy union and the results of COP21, as well as the UK plans for an in/out referendum.
Ministers endorsed the 18-month programme of the activities of the Council for the period from 1 January 2016 to 30 June 2017. This programme was drawn up by the future Netherlands, Slovak and Maltese Council presidencies, as well as the High Representative as President of the Foreign Affairs Council.