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General Affairs Council: 20 September 2016

Volume 615: debated on Monday 10 October 2016

The General Affairs Council on 20 September was chaired by the Slovak presidency and held in Brussels.

General Affairs Council

The General Affairs Council on 20 September discussed the October European Council; follow up to the June European Council; mid-term review of the multiannual financial framework; and the European Commission’s annual work programme 2017.

A provisional report of the meeting and the conclusions adopted can be found at:

Preparation of the European Council (20-21 October)

The Council was presented with the agenda for the October European Council. It is due to discuss migration, trade, and external relations with Russia. The Government made clear that while we remained a member state of the EU, the UK would continue to contribute fully in the preparation of the European Council and advance positions in line with our national interest.

Follow-up to the June European Council

The Council also discussed the conclusions of the June European Council, focusing on migration, jobs, growth and investment, and external relations. Member states called for more practical ways to implement European Council conclusions.

Mid-Term Review / Revision of the Multiannual Financial Framework

The Commission presented its proposal for the mid-term review of the multiannual financial framework 2014-20. The proposal is intended to increase flexibility in the EU budget, focusing on the economy, security and migration. The presidency confirmed this will be a standing item on the General Affairs Council agenda until agreement is reached.

Commission Annual Work Programme 2017

The Commission presented the 2017 letter of intent. During an exchange of views the UK stated that the Commission should prioritise the single market, the digital single market and migration. We also made clear any proposals on defence issues would need careful scrutiny and should not duplicate NATO. The presidency stated its intention to present the Commission with a letter outlining the overall views of member states for it to consider when finalising the 2017 Commission work programme.

Sir Julian Kings appointment

Sir Julian King has been appointed as European Commissioner for the Security Union. He secured the European Parliament’s endorsement when it voted in favour of his appointment on Thursday 15 September. The Council of the European Union gave its approval at the General Affairs Council on Tuesday 20 September. Sir Julian replaces Lord Hill following his resignation in July this year.