On Tuesday, April 9, 2019, the minister for European affairs, George Ciamba, chaired a new meeting of the General Affairs Council, held in Luxembourg under the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the EU. The items on the agenda included a thematic debate on the Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027, the adoption of the Council Conclusions on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the status of the developments regarding the EU values in Hungary and the state of law in Poland, as well as a debate on the upcoming European Parliament elections.
The thematic debate on the Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027 focused on the cohesion policy and the Common Agricultural Policy, two of the pillars of the future EU budget. The topic sparked a substantive exchange of opinions on the ways in which the future EU budget could further support those two policies so that that they might enable stronger convergence across the Union, as well as the modernisation of those policies and an adequate response to new challenges at the same time. In that connection, the representative of the Romanian Council Presidency outlined the progress made in the negotiations on the sectoral proposals related to the future multiannual budget of the Union.
“I have presented today the results that the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the EU has achieved in the negotiations on the sectoral programmes within the Multiannual Financial Framework. Thus, the Council of the EU and the European Parliament now share a common understanding of 10 programmes that are utterly significant in the context of the future financial framework”, stated the minister for European affairs, George Ciamba.
The Romanian Presidency achieved the consensus needed in order to advance sectoral programmes such as: The European Defence Fund, the Fiscalis Programme, the InvestEU Programme, the Digital Europe Programme for 2021-2027, the Connecting Europe Facility, the Space Programme, the Justice Programme, the Rights and Values Programme, the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund, the LIFE Programme.
The ministers for European affairs adopted Conclusions on sustainable development, in answer to the reflection paper “Towards a sustainable Europe by 2030”, published by the European Commission in January 2019. At the same time, the ministers reviewed the advancements within the procedures circumscribed to Article 7(1) on the rule of law in Poland and the values of the EU in Hungary.
The agenda of the Council also included an exchange of opinions on the upcoming European Parliament elections, building on the previous debates on the same topic and following the Council Conclusions adopted in the GAC of February 19. The discussions focused on the preparedness to organise the European Parliament elections across all the EU Member States, including the preparedness to cope with the issues that are being debated in that context.
“The upcoming European elections will have a significant impact on the future institutional architecture of the EU and, from there, on our definition of the European policies in the years to come. That is the reason why the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the EU believes that we need to have a better understanding of the current challenges faced by the European elections and that, at the same time, we need to take adequate measures to mitigate the risks associated with the disinformation campaigns and the attempts to manipulate the voters”, stated the Romanian official.
The Council adopted as items without debate a set of legislative acts influencing the good functioning of the internal market, industrial activities, agriculture, transport, employment, economic and social policies. One such example is the Directive on unfair trading practices in the agricultural and food supply chain. The adopted act is designed to prevent large retail operators from exploiting small farmers.
Please see the complete list of the adopted legislative acts here:
On the margins of his participation in the General Affairs Council, the minister for European affairs also signed a series of legislative acts adopted at EU level, in his capacity of Council Presidency representative.