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State Secretary Ružička in Brussels on the Agenda of the December Summit of Leaders, the Rule of Law and EU Enlargement

State Secretary Ružička in Brussels on the Agenda of the December Summit of Leaders, the Rule of Law and EU Enlargement

19.11.2019 | Aktivity štátnych tajomníkov | SR a EÚ | Slovensko a Európska únia

On Tuesday (November 19, 2019), ministers for European affairs of the EU member states met in Brussels at the meeting of the General Affairs Council. The Slovak delegation was led by František Ružička, State Secretary of the Ministry for Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic.
 

 

The meeting focussed on the preparations of the European Council December summit (December 12-13, 2019) which will  deal with, among other things, the issue of climate protection. The goal is to adopt guidelines for a long-term greenhouse gas emissions reduction strategy by 2020. State Secretary Ružička confirmed Slovakia’s interest in achieving climate neutrality by 2050 and thus contributing to the common, ambitious goal. At the same time, he emphasized that ”It is necessary to consider the real impact on the EU industry and create conditions and stimuli which will help support its competitiveness. Support must also be directed to the people and regions most affected by the upcoming changes. It is also necessary to respect the principle of technological neutrality, including nuclear energy, and the right of every member state to freely decide on its energy mix.“ In December, the leaders will also revisit the Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027. ”It is in our interest that the negotiations be completed by the spring of 2020. A late conclusion of the agreement could lead to a late phasing-in of the new programming period,“ concluded State Secretary Ružička. The ministers exchanged positions regarding the future EU budget also with the EP representatives. The Finnish presidency summed up the negotiations until now on the future EU budget and announced the submission of the revised proposal with all the amounts before the December EU Council meeting.
    
 

As a follow-up to the October meeting of the General Affairs Council and the European Council, the ministers went back to the topic of EU enlargement. “Slovakia welcomes a constructive discussion and proposals for the enlargement policy and how to make it more efficient. We appreciate the proposal presented by France. Now, it is up to the European Commission to prepare its recommendation for the next action, ideally as early as by the beginning of 2020. We wish for a solution supporting the enlargement policy to be found by the time of the EU-Western Balkans Summit in May 2020, in Zagreb,” emphasized State Secretary Ružička. In this regard he recalled that we continue to support the opening of accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania.
 

 

The ministers also dealt with the evaluation of the dialogue on the rule of law in the EU which the Council has carried out regularly since 2014. The first such evaluation took place in November 2016, which was during the Slovak presidency in the Council of the EU. The ministers and the Director of the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights, Michael O’Flaherty, talked about the possibilities of engaging the agency in the dialogue on the rule of law.

 

During the working lunch, the issue of inter-institutional co-operation was discussed. The ministers focused on two areas: the priorities of the Strategic agenda which should be targeted more when dealing with the annual and multiannual legislative programming, and the main challenges regarding inter-institutional co-operation in the new term of European institutions.