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State Secretary Dovžan attends General Affairs Council

  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs

State Secretary Gašper Dovžan took part in the regular General Affairs Council session in Brussels. The state secretaries and ministers focused on the preparations for the special meeting of the European Council scheduled for 30 and 31 May 2022. They also exchanged views on how to follow up on the proposals of the Conference on the Future of Europe and continued the Article 7(1) TEU procedure relating to the hearing held by the Council on the values of the Union in Hungary.

State Secretary Dovžan talking to State Secretary to the Prime Minister’s Office of Italy Amendola

State Secretary Dovžan talking to State Secretary to the Prime Minister’s Office of Italy Amendola | Author EU

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As part of the preparations for the special meeting of the European Council, the ministers and state secretaries discussed support for Ukraine, energy, defence and food security. State Secretary Dovžan underlined the importance of providing ongoing support and aid to Ukraine, expressing the hope that the European Council sends a strong political message of support for Ukraine's European perspective, and also for that of other aspirant countries. He expressed concern at Russia’s blockade of Ukrainian ports, preventing exports of agricultural products and threatening global food supplies. He also endorsed abandoning Russian fossil fuels and stressed the importance of a rapid energy transition. In this context, he pointed to an appropriate focus on renewables, including nuclear energy, and highlighted the need to accelerate the spatial integration of renewable energy projects.

In accordance with the procedure laid down in Article 7(1) of the EU Treaty, the General Affairs Council held a hearing with Hungary to determine the existence of a clear risk of serious breaches of the rule of law. This is the fourth such hearing of Hungary in the General Affairs Council. The Member States had the opportunity to question Hungary regarding the situation in the twelve areas set out in the reasoned proposal of the European Parliament. Secretary of State Dovžan supported the respect for the rule of law in the Union, all its Member States and institutions and went on to advocate for an objective and transparent approach and full respect for the principle of equal treatment, with a view to consolidating mutual trust between the Member States and EU institutions.

The ministers and state secretaries also took note of the current information on the Conference on the Future of Europe and discussed the Council’s response to the proposals put forward by the Conference. Following the adoption of the final report of the Conference in Strasbourg on 9 May 2022, the three institutions must now examine how they can act effectively, each within their respective competences and in accordance with the EU Treaties. State Secretary Dovžan stressed that citizens’ recommendations are very specific and relevant; they need to be addressed with all seriousness and see a proper follow up.

All proposals must be carefully examined and discussed in the Council. In the first phase, it would be best to focus on the proposals covering the area of common policies to which we can find an answer under the existing Treaties, thereby demonstrating to citizens that their proposals have been taken seriously and that they will be followed up on.