Informal meeting of the EU General Affairs Council on recovery package and 18-month programme of the Council presidency trio
Today, State Secretary Gašper Dovžan participated in an informal video conference of ministers for European affairs, focused on preparations for the forthcoming video conference of the EU Heads of State and on the recovery package.
The ministers exchanged views on the state of negotiations between the EU and the United Kingdom and took note of the 18-month programme of the Council, in the drafting of which Slovenia, as one of the Member States of the incoming Council presidency trio, also took part.
The members of the General Affairs Council discussed the Recovery Instrument and the modified proposal for the multiannual financial framework for 2021-2027. They outlined their positions on the broad Commission proposal and welcomed its future-oriented agenda and its focus on mitigating the consequences of the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Member States have opposing positions, especially regarding the loans-to-grants ratio as well as the method for allocation of funds. State Secretary Dovžan stressed that the approval of the ambitious recovery plan would be of great strategic importance for the EU and shared the view that agreement on the recovery package should be reached as soon as possible. In principle, he expressed agreement with the proposed range of funds of the Recovery Instrument and with the loans-to-grants ratio, stressing that a large portion of the funds should be allocated to Member States in the form of grants. In relation to the Recovery Instrument, State Secretary Dovžan supported the proposal for increasing the funds for the Just Transition Fund, the European Regional Development Fund, and for the cohesion policy under the REACT-EU initiative. He reiterated the importance of the cohesion funds for Slovenia and drew attention to the statistical data usage and the Western Slovenia, voicing the expectation that these issues will be addressed appropriately in future negotiations.
GAC members took note of the current state of negotiations between the EU and the United Kingdom presented by the EU’s Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier.
With regard to the 18-month programme of the Council, State Secretary Dovžan stated that the Trio countries bear a great responsibility and that as one of the three countries to hold the upcoming presidency, Slovenia will strive to improve the capacity of the EU and its Member States for mitigating crises, such as pandemics, cyberattacks of greater dimensions, or migratory pressures. Particular attention will be devoted to ensuring the faultless functioning of the European economy, while respecting the green transition and the digital transformation agenda, and to the continuation of the EU enlargement policy, including achieving progress in reforms in the Western Balkans. State Secretary Dolžan emphasised that Slovenia is pleased with the collaboration with Germany and Portugal regarding the harmonisation of the 18-month programme of the Trio, which will set out the main work areas for the next year and a half. The harmonisation process of the 18-month programme that took a few months was conducted in a constructive manner and in the spirit of friendly cooperation with both Slovenia's partners.
- General Affairs Council website https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/meetings/gac/2020/06/16
- 18-Month programme of the Council DE-PT-SI https://data.consilium.europa.eu/doc/document/ST-8086-2020-INIT/en/pdf/