State Secretary Božič attends General Affairs Council
State Secretary Božič attended the General Affairs Council today, which took note of the foreseen course of negotiations on the new EU budget until the end of the year and of the Finnish Presidency’s priorities. Implementation of the new strategic agenda and the situation regarding the rule of law in the European Union were also discussed.
The Finnish Presidency outlined its ambitious and well-worked-out approach for further negotiations on the new EU budget, and it committed itself to meeting the timetable set out by the June European Council. According to the timetable, the negotiations are to be completed by the end of the year, a goal shared by Slovenia.
Along with like-minded countries, State Secretary Božič urged that updated statistical data be used for calculating cohesion envelopes because data for the 2014–2018 period are considered more relevant for Slovenia and certain other Member States.
The Presidency went on to present the priorities guiding the Council’s work in the next six months, announcing greater focus on strengthening common values and the rule of law, and a more competitive and socially inclusive EU. The EU as a global leader in climate action, the protection of citizens, comprehensive management of migration and finalisation of negotiations on the next multiannual financial framework will feature among its priorities.
The General Affairs Council exchanged views on implementing the strategic agenda for the upcoming five-year period, which was endorsed by the June European Council. Based on the Presidency discussion paper breaking down the topics to be tackled, the General Affairs Council considered the possibilities for effective implementation of the strategic agenda priorities and the Council’s working methods. Better communication with citizens was seen as indispensable.
In his plea for more effective implementation of the strategic agenda priorities, State Secretary Božič highlighted the importance of inter-institutional cooperation and transparency.
The Commission presented its communication on strengthening the rule of law in the EU, with initiatives grouped around three pillars: promotion, prevention and effective response. Welcoming the document, Slovenia spoke in favour of more effective tools guaranteeing respect for the rule of law in the European Union.
The General Affairs Council also took stock of the situation regarding the rule of law in Poland. The Commission presented the state of play following the recent judgment by the European Court of Justice, which determined that Polish legislation lowering the retirement age of supreme court judges is contrary to EU law.
On the sidelines of the General Affairs Council session, State Secretary Božič met with EEAS Secretary General Helga Schmid.