Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Ekaterina Zaharieva chaired the first meeting of the General Affairs Council under the Bulgarian Presidency of the EU, which was held in Brussels today.
The Council began preparations for the European Council meeting on 22 and 23 March by discussing an annotated draft agenda. The meeting will focus on measures to strengthen growth, create new jobs and improve competitiveness.
The European Council is expected to adopt conclusions addressing:
- progress made in further developing the single market, the Digital Single Market, the Capital Markets Union and the Energy Union
- the 2018 European Semester
- social issues, such as the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights and the upcoming Commission proposal on a European Labour Authority
- (possibly) trade
It will also adopt procedural conclusions on the forthcoming EU-Western Balkans Summit.
As part of the Leaders' Agenda, the heads will hold a debate on taxation, in particular in the digital economy.
The Commission presented its reasoned proposal under Article 7(1) TEU concerning the rule of law in Poland.
The presentation forms part of the first phase of the procedure under Article 7(1) TEU. In parallel, the Commission is pursuing a dialogue with the Polish authorities and has issued recommendations to them for action by 20 March.
The next steps in the procedure will depend on the outcome of this dialogue. The Council will revert to this issue in due course.
“We encourage the continuation of the dialogue between the European Commission and Poland. A positive outcome would help the Union to focus on the agenda we need to take forward in 2018”, stated Ekaterina Zaharieva.
Today the Council adopted without discussion a regulation to ban unjustified geo-blocking in the internal market and approved without discussion the reform of the EU emissions trading system (ETS) for the period after 2020.
The press conference after the General Affairs Council meeting can be watched here:https://tvnewsroom.consilium.europa.eu/event/general-affairs-council-february-2018-199d8/press-conference-part-1-19ea2