General Affairs Council, 12/11/2018

Main results

Next multiannual financial framework

The Council held a policy debate on the multiannual financial framework for 2021-2027.

Ministers outlined their views on the points which they consider to be of most importance for a future agreement, in the light of work so far.

Their guidance will serve as a basis for further discussions between member states at technical level in the run-up to the December European Council.

The Austrian presidency continues to devote intensive efforts to taking forward work on all aspects of the next long-term budget, in line with the mandate received from the leaders. We are determined to make as much progress as possible.

Gernot Blümel, Austrian federal minister for the EU, art, culture and media

Article 7(1) TEU proceedings

Ministers discussed the state of play of the Article 7(1) TEU procedure concerning Hungary.

The Commission provided the Council with an update on the latest developments regarding judicial reform in Poland.

December European Council

The Council started preparations for the European Council meeting on 13-14 December by discussing an annotated draft agenda.

At their meeting in December, the EU leaders will focus on:

  • the multiannual financial framework for 2021-2027
  • the state of play regarding a fully functioning single market
  • the implementation of the comprehensive approach to migration
  • preparations for the summit with the League of Arab States on 24-25 February 2019
  • action against disinformation

Trust in public institutions and the rule of law

The Council held its fourth annual rule of law dialogue, focusing on trust in public institutions and the rule of law. With the participation of the Director of the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights, Michael O’Flaherty, ministers discussed the main factors which determine the level of trust in public institutions, and the role the media, civil society, the EU and member states can play to help encourage this trust.

The presidency will prepare conclusions on the debate, which will be sent to the relevant Council bodies for further consideration.

It is important that we continue the dialogue on the rule of law under our presidency, and that ministers have an opportunity to exchange views on this issue separately from specific individual cases. Our topic this year of trust in public institutions is vital to the proper functioning of our societies.

Gernot Blümel, Austrian federal minister for the EU, art, culture and media

Other items

Ministers heard a presentation and exchanged views on the 2019 Commission work programme.

The Commission presented its subsidiarity package published on 23 October. The package will be discussed in more detail at a conference organised by the Austrian presidency on 15-16 November in Bregenz, Austria.

As part of the preparation of the next European Semester, the Austrian presidency and the incoming Romanian presidency presented the 2019 European Semester roadmap.