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Minister of Foreign Affairs

Linas Linkevičius

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The EU General Affairs Council finalised preparations for the European Council meeting

Created: 2018.12.12 / Updated: 2018.12.13 14:17
      The EU General Affairs Council finalised preparations for the European Council meeting
      The EU General Affairs Council finalised preparations for the European Council meeting

      Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs Albinas Zananavičius attended the European Union General Affairs Council (GAC) in Brussels on 11 December that finalised preparations for the European Council meeting to be held on 13–14 December. The meeting held a debate on the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) for 2021–2027, endorsed the Council programme for the next 18 months, presented the Annual Growth Survey for 2019, and discussed the rule of law in Poland and Hungary.

      The General Affairs Council focused on the Multiannual Financial Framework which is going to be the key item on the agenda of the European Council meeting.

      “While drafting the Multiannual Financial Framework for the next period we need to aim not only at a quicker pace of the negotiations but, most importantly, at ensuring a high quality of the Framework. For Lithuania, it is particularly important to ensure the continuity of the Cohesion Policy and the Common Agricultural Policy by avoiding dramatic reduction of support for cohesion and fostering convergence of direct payments to farmers. We must also seek broader participation of all EU Member States in the programme Horizon Europe, plan for adequate funding for infrastructure projects and the decommissioning of the Ignalina NPP, and maintain a Heading to finance the Neighbourhood dimension in the new MFF,” underlined Vice-Minister Zananavičius.

      In preparation for the debates of the European Council, the focus was also set on an ambition to remove the remaining obstacles in the functioning of the EU Single Market, which brings to a need to conclude as many legislative initiatives as possible before the elections to the European Parliament. Special attention should be paid to the transparency of the elections.

      “We underline the obligation to safeguard EU’s democratic systems, first and foremost, to ensure that the European Parliament elections are transparent therefore our special efforts should be directed towards the implementation of the Commission’s Action Plan against Disinformation,” Albinas Zananavičius said.

      As for external relations, Lithuania stressed a necessity to discuss Russian aggression against Ukraine in the Azov Sea.

      The Ministers endorsed the Council’s programme for the next 18 months, for the Romanian, Finish and Croatian Presidencies; the Commission presented its Annual Growth Survey for 2019 in the framework of the European Semester; there was an on-going debate on the legal reform in Poland – there was a third hearings where Poland answered the questions raised by the EU Member States concerning the rule of law there. The Ministers also continued to exchange views on respect for EU values in Hungary, while the Austrian Presidency informed about the results of the Subsidiarity Conference on 15–16 November 2018 and handed over the need to improve the EU subsidiarity principles to the approaching Romanian Presidency.

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