PRESS RELEASE 156
State Secretary for EU assesses state of negotiations with the United Kingdom and of the Multiannual Financial Framework during General Affairs Council with his European colleagues
13/10/2020

The State Secretary for the European Union, Juan González-Barba, has taken part today in the General Affairs Council (GAC) of the EU, held in Luxemburg. The State secretary also held a meeting with the President of the Court of Justice of the European Union and took part by video-conference in the 5th Forum of the Outermost Regions.

The main aim of the GAC meeting was to prepare for the European Council to be held on 15 and 16 October. One of the main issues of this European Council will be the future relationship with the United Kingdom. In this context, the European affairs ministers discussed the state of the negotiations with the United Kingdom, which included the participation of the Vice-President of the European Commission for Inter-institutional Relations and Foresight, Maros Šefčovič, and the Chief Negotiator, Michel Barnier. The GAC reiterated its trust in and unanimous support for the work of the Chief Negotiator.

The European Council will also hold a debate on the Commission’s new proposal to increase the ambition of the CO2 emissions reduction target for 2030 to 55% on 1990 levels, within the framework of the commitments under the Paris Agreement, with the aim of ensuring a climate neutral EU by 2050.

The General Affairs Council also adopted the Recommendation on the coordinated approach of the EU to the restriction on free movement in response to the pandemic. The ministers also exchanged perspectives on the situation of the rule of law in the EU following the recent publication of the Annual Report on the Rule of Law drawn up by the European Commission. Specifically, the ministers addressed areas relating to systems of justice, anti-corruption frameworks and the pluralism of the media, as well as other institutional mechanisms to enhance accountability. The State secretary, Juan González-Barba, stressed “the importance of this exercise which, backed by sound legal rigour, seeks to promote greater confidence in EU institutions and between Member States”.

Lastly, at a public session, the General Affairs Council was informed of the state of negotiations with the European Parliament on the Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027.

On the occasion of his visit to the Court of Justice of the EU, the State secretary, Juan González-Barba, addressed the adaptation of the court’s working methods with President Lenaerts, in response to the pandemic and the potential reforms of the institution.

Lastly, the State secretary took part, together with Commissioner Ferreira and his French and Portuguese counterparts, in the 5th Forum of the Outermost Regions, held by video-conference. Juan González-Barba stressed the need for strengthened solidarity with the outermost regions, which are more vulnerable to the pandemic and to the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the EU, as is the case of the Canary Islands. The State secretary reiterated Spain’s commitment to the Canary Islands as an EU outermost region, which constitutes a priority State policy, particularly in the current context of the negotiation of the Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027.

 

 

-NON OFFICIAL TRANSLATION-

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