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Korčok at the session of EU Ministers for European Affairs on key issues – PESCO, enlargement and Brexit

Korčok at the session of EU Ministers for European Affairs on key issues – PESCO, enlargement and Brexit

12.12.2017 | Aktivity štátnych tajomníkov | SR a EÚ | Slovensko a Európska únia

Preparations for the European Council ahead of the meetings in Brussels (on 14 and 15 December 2017) was the core issue discussed at the General Affairs Council (GAC) today (12 December). The Slovak delegation was led by State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic, Ivan Korčok. In terms of the summit, he stated the following: “One of the clear political messages will be the launch of the member states´ cooperation in defence. The so-called PESCO (Permanent Structured Cooperation on security and defence) is a tangible outcome to which we have already committed at the Bratislava summit. However, we will be able to deem it successful only when this cooperation is reflected in building tangible capacities. It is very good that the leaders will supervise the realization.” 

 

The Ministers traditionally tackle enlargement at the December GAC. Every year in autumn the Commission reports on the countries in the enlargement process but this has been postponed to April due to the formal change of timing.  Therefore, the political signal of inviting the candidate countries for the talks today has been even more important. During the working lunch, the efforts made by the countries in the past year were appreciated. Korčok stated: “The enlargement represents a strategic investment. This topic is becoming more prominent again and therefore I believe that the candidate countries will use this opportunity for new dynamics in their approach to the reforms.” He also added that these efforts must also be duly appreciated by the EU.


 
In the afternoon, the ministers, without the United Kingdom, talked together with the EU´s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier, about the progress achieved and the next steps. They stated a breakthrough has been achieved in three core areas: protecting EU citizens’ rights; the financial settlement; and the unique circumstances in Northern Ireland. “There is a fair package on the table giving answers to the questions we were asking in the three key areas. We believe that on Friday the leaders will give a green light to launching the discussion on the form of future relations," stated Korčok.  When the roadmap for the next steps is agreed by the leaders, the talks will continue quickly. The preparations of the Brexit agreement will require much technical work that will go on in parallel with the negotiations about the transitory period and the mutual settlement of post-Brexit relations. 


 
The GAC also adopted the wording of the Joint Declaration of the three EU institutions (the Council, the European Commission and the Parliament) on legislative priorities for 2018-2019.

 

 

Videorecording from the doorstep is available here.