On Tuesday, December 11, 2018, at the end of the meeting of the ministers for foreign affairs held in Brussels, the minister delegate for European affairs, George Ciamba, officially took over the office of Chair of the General Affairs Council (GAC).
An important item of the GAC agenda was the Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027, in preparation of the Heads of State of Government debates in the European Council of December 13-14, 2018. In that connection, Minister Delegate George Ciamba expressed his appreciation for the efforts the Austrian Presidency had made on that file and emphasised that Romania was ready to maintain the same sustained pace in the discussions, which would lead to making sensible progress during its mandate. He also emphasised that the new budget of the Union should be equally ambitious and balanced and that it should reflect both the need to continue to support the growth and convergence objectives and the need to effectively respond to the current challenges. The minister delegate also stressed that the sensible advancement of the negotiations on that file was largely contingent on the positive commitment to the process of all the Member States and the EU institutions.
In preparation of the European Council of December, the ministers for European affairs also addressed the other topics on the Heads of State and Government agenda, with accent laid on the aspects regarding the Internal Market, migration, the Economic and Monetary Union and the external relations of the Union.
In connection to the European Council agenda, the minister delegate for European affairs underlined that it was important that the European Council should send a strong support message for the efforts of strengthening the Internal Market. In that context, George Ciamba highlighted the principles that should make the foundation of a post-2020 vision on the Internal Market, namely, the preservation of the fundamental liberties, the removal of barriers and an increased responsiveness to the digital challenges. The minister delegate also referred to the need to continue the efforts towards a comprehensive approach to migration, building on the objectives outlined in the European Council Conclusions of June 2018. In that connection, he expressed Romania’s availability to build on the work of the previous presidencies on that file. At the same time, the minister underlined that it was important to discuss about the recent developments in the Azov Sea, as well as about the actions against disinformation, the latter representing a priority on the agenda of the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the EU.
Furthermore, the ministers exchanged views on the following topics: 2019 European Semester, with accent on the aspects included in the Annual Growth Survey published by the European Commission, the rule of law in Poland and the values of the Union in Hungary, as well as the outcomes of the Subsidiarity Conference, held on November 15-16, in Bregenz, Austria.
The officials attending the meeting formally adopted, without debate, the Council conclusions, already technically agreed, on the margins of the European Commission Country Reports on Romania and Bulgaria under the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism, published on November 13, 2018.