The State Secretary for European Affairs Andreja Metelko-Zgombić held the last videoconference of Ministers of European affairs under the Croatian Presidency of the Council of the European Union within the General Affairs Council configuration.
The Ministers exchanged views on the Commission’s modified proposal for the next Multiannual Financial Framework (2021-2027) and Recovery plan in order to prepare the videoconference of the members of the European Council and their orientation debate on 19 June, recognising that these proposals will play a key role in the European economic and social recovery. As the negotiations on these proposals now enter the decisive phase, State Secretary Metelko-Zgombić stressed that Member States should aim for a joint and robust EU response that remains at the level of this challenge.
The Ministers also discussed the EU-UK relationship and confirmed their dedication to negotiating a comprehensive and ambitious future partnership, while remaining vigilant of the correct implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement together with its Protocols. The EU’s Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier informed the Ministers of the latest developments and the proposed further dynamics of the negotiations.
For the last item of the agenda, the incoming Trio - Germany, Portugal and Slovenia - presented its activities and priorities for the forthcoming eighteen-month Programme of the Council (1 July 2020 - 31 December 2021).
The Ministers have thanked the Croatian Presidency and Chair of the General Affairs Council, State Secretary Metelko-Zgombić for the commitment and the results achieved in the first half of 2020 during a time of unprecedented crisis not only for Croatia as the newest Member State, but for the entire European continent and the world.
State Secretary Metelko-Zgombić thanked the ministers of European Affairs for their continued support and trust, and for allowing the Croatian Presidency to carry on the work of the Council virtually through videoconferences and written procedures thus rising to this unparalleled challenge and not losing momentum on going forward with the Council’s agenda. State Secretary Metelko-Zgombić offered the upcoming German Presidency her support and best wishes for success as it begins its term next month.
“It has been an honour and a privilege to preside over the General Affairs Council during the time of an unprecedented crisis for the EU. We must move forward together as a team and come up with a robust response to reach a quick economic and social recovery. Yet I have no doubt that we are, as our Presidency slogan says ‘a strong Europe in a world of challenges’, and that we will overcome this challenge, recover and develop further for the benefit of the EU, its Member States and their citizens” State Secretary Metelko-Zgombić stated in her closing remarks.