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House of Commons Hansard
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Written Statements
20 March 2019
Volume 656

Written Statement

Wednesday 20 March 2019

Exiting the European Union

Informal General Affairs Council

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Lord Callanan, Minister of State for Exiting the European Union, has made the following statement:

Ministers were unable to attend the informal General Affairs Council (GAC) due to parliamentary business. Alex Ellis, director general of the Department for Exiting the European Union, represented the UK at the informal GAC in Bucharest on 11 and 12 March 2019. The agenda covered a discussion on the multiannual financial framework for 2021-27 and a debate on the EU strategic agenda.

Until we leave the European Union, we remain committed to fulfilling our rights and obligations as a full member.

Multiannual financial framework for 2021-27

The Council had an exchange of views on the multiannual financial framework (MFF) for 2021-27. The Commission stated that the EU needed flexibility to address urgent matters which could not be foreseen, and asked for enhanced collaboration between the funds and instruments. The Commission also stated that the EU needed a stronger link between its budget and policy framework. Most member states spoke in favour of flexibility but stressed the need for it to be balanced to ensure predictability.

EU strategic agenda

In preparation for the EU strategic agenda, Ministers reflected on the future of Europe, and in particular, the overarching priorities that should guide the work of the EU over the coming years. Ministers discussed growth and competitiveness as one of the priority themes for the next strategic agenda. Ministers also discussed security and migration as key priorities.

Alex Ellis intervened to highlight that some of the priorities highlighted in the discussion were ones in which the UK had a strong interest in continued collaboration with our international partners, especially on the challenges we faced collectively, such as security, climate change, global trade and migration.

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