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GAC on enlargement and the stabilisation and association process

  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs

State Secretary Marko Štucin attended the regular meeting of the General Affairs Council in Brussels on the preparations for the European Council meeting and the conclusions on enlargement and stabilisation and association process.

State Secretary Štucin at the meeting with a colleague

State Secretary Štucin at the meeting | Author EU

The ministers and state secretaries for European affairs reached an agreement on the enlargement conclusions, sending a positive signal to the Western Balkans and the enlargement process. In the enlargement conclusions, they recommended that the European Council grant Bosnia and Herzegovina candidate status.

The ministers and state secretaries also agreed the mandate on a regulation on the transparency and targeting of political advertising. In the framework of the annual rule of law dialogue and discussion on the situation in five member states, they also talked about Slovenia.

In the discussion on the draft conclusions of the meeting of EU heads of state or government, the ministers and state secretaries focused on Ukraine and the wider impact of the Russian aggression, energy, the economy, security and defence, relations between the EU and the Southern Neighbourhood, and current foreign affairs topics.

State Secretary Marko Štucin went on to mention the difficult situation of the Ukrainian people due to the approaching winter, calling for future support from the EU. He also advocated efforts to ensure accountability of the Russian regime for the crimes committed in Ukraine. The State Secretary welcomed the proposals on the transaction-based benchmark for liquefied natural gas, joint gas purchase and solidarity rules, and observed that energy prices remain high. He also endorsed the conclusions on Iran, condemned the executions of protestors and called for the release of nonviolent offenders. On behalf of Slovenia, he welcomed the European Council discussion on granting Bosnia and Herzegovina candidate status, which is partly a result of Slovenia's firm and consistent efforts. On enlargement conclusions, he highlighted the strategic significance of the EU enlargement policy and the importance of granting Bosnia and Herzegovina candidate status.

In the framework of the annual rule of law dialogue, the GAC held the fifth round of country-specific discussions on five member states: Poland, Portugal, Romania, Sweden and Slovenia. The constructive discussion was based on the EU Commission's third Rule of Law Report published in July. State Secretary Štucin presented the current situation in Slovenia and the measures to address the issues highlighted in the Commission’s report.

The GAC approved the Joint Declaration identifying the EU legislative priorities for 2023 and 2024. The ministers and state secretaries went on to exchange views on further measures following the citizens’ feedback  event relating to the Conference on the Future of Europe that was held on 2 December in Brussels. They took note of the European Semester timeline for 2023.