General Affairs Council
Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
David Lidington (Minister of State (Europe and NATO), Foreign and Commonwealth Office; Aylesbury, Conservative)
I will attend the General Affairs Council in Brussels on
The focus of the meeting of the General Affairs Council, which will be chaired by the Danish EU presidency, will once again be the multi-annual financial framework (MFF). The other items on the agenda are preparation for the European Council of 29-
On the MFF, there will be an orientation debate in which the Danish presidency would like Ministers to address the key issues in negotiations. For the first time, the discussion will be held on the basis of a negotiating box that covers all parts of the negotiation: all areas of spending, all headings, horizontal aspects of the financial framework (such as what should be kept on, or taken off the budget) and the system of own resources, including the UK rebate and other correction mechanisms.
As with previous meetings of the General Affairs Council, my overriding objective for the discussions on the MFF will be for the negotiating box to reflect a restrained EU budget, limited to a real-terms freeze. I will defend the UK rebate and press for the language on new own resources to be removed from the negotiating box.
On the June European Council preparation, the General Affairs Council will have a short discussion on the agenda set out by President Van Rompuy which currently covers economic policy (specifically growth), the MFF and justice and home affairs (specifically Schengen, asylum policy and the abuse of the free movement directive).
Finally, the Council discussion and conclusions on the Commission’s interim report on Croatia’s continued progress towards accession provides an opportunity for the EU, and the UK, to maintain political focus on the pre-accession monitoring process and the importance of Croatia delivering against all of their commitments ahead of accession. Croatia has already responded with a detailed action plan to follow up the report’s recommendations.