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23 September 2019
General Affairs News

The General Affairs Council, chaired by Minister for European Affairs George Ciamba, adopted a series of very important measures that directly impact citizens in the current European context

Minister for European Affairs George Ciamba has chaired the meeting of the General Affairs Council organised today, March 19, 2019 in Brussels.

In line with the measures aimed at ensuring free and fair elections, promoted since the beginning of the Romanian Presidency of the EU Council, the General Affairs Council has adopted today a draft Regulation that stipulates new rules on preventing the misuse of personal data by European political parties during the electoral process. The new rules will allow imposing financial penalties to parties and foundations that deliberately influence or try to interfere with electoral processes, by violating rules on the protection of personal data.

“This is a very important step towards ensuring free and fair elections in the European Union. It is a very important signal for the upcoming elections. We have witnessed the debate about Cambridge Analytics and its consequences. The rules adopted today will prevent similar situations from happening, with the aim of ensuring the protection of European citizens,” minister Ciamba stated.

During the meeting of the General Affairs Council, a series of contingency measures have also been adopted, with the purpose of mitigating the possible negative effects of a no-deal BREXIT. The items of legislation adopted today are aimed at preparing the European Union and its citizens for the scenario of a withdrawal of the United Kingdom without an agreement. The 11 documents adopted include the draft regulation on protecting the social security rights of EU citizens in the United Kingdom. Another item of legislation will ensure the protection of youth taking part in the Erasmus programme, so as to enable them to continue their studies in the event of a no-deal Brexit. Other measures that impact citizens concern the fields of aviation safety, road transport or fishing.

In the first part of the meeting, the Council adopted conclusions on increasing the resilience of member states against cyber threats. One of the provisions of the document refers to the development of education programmes on cyber security and raising citizens’ awareness on cyber threats.

Another document adopted by the Council concerns the decision to sign an agreement with Montenegro on the activities of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency in Montenegro. These documents are an important step for the cooperation between Montenegro, a candidate state, and the European Union for strengthening the European security and the protection of EU’s external borders.

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