Main Results – General Affairs Council, 20/03/2018

Spring European Council

The Council finalised preparations for the March European Council by discussing draft conclusions.

The European Council will focus on:

  • jobs, growth and competitiveness: EU leaders will adopt conclusions on the single market, the 2018 European Semester and social issues, notably the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights and the initiatives presented by the Commission under the Social Fairness package
  • trade: the European Council will address the state of play in trade issues
  • external relations: against the background of the Commission’s Strategy on the Western Balkans, the European Council will adopt conclusions on the Western Balkans ahead of the May summit in Sofia; leaders are also expected to discuss recent developments in relations with Turkey, as well as the recent attack in the UK on Sergei and Yulia Skripal
  • taxation: under the Leaders’ Agenda, EU leaders will hold a debate on taxation, in particular in the digital economy

European semester

The Council examined a presidency report summarising the contributions of the Council configurations on the 2018 European semester package. The European economy continues to strengthen as the transition from economic recovery to expansion continues. Nevertheless further action remains essential to help create jobs and achieve long-term sustainable growth.

The Council also agreed to forward a draft recommendation to the European Council inviting the euro area member states to pursue policies aimed at boosting economic growth in 2018-2019.

Rule of law

Under any other business the Commission updated the Council on its dialogue with the Polish authorities on the rule of law in Poland.

Multilateral investment court

The Council adopted without discussion the negotiating directives authorising the Commission to negotiate, on behalf of the EU, a convention establishing a multilateral court for the settlement of investment disputes. The Council also decided to make the negotiating directives public. 

Date for the 2019 EP elections

The Council decided without discussion to consult the European Parliament on fixing 23-26 May as dates for the 2019 European Parliament elections.