Skip to main content

General Affairs Council

Volume 639: debated on Wednesday 25 April 2018

Sir Tim Barrow, the UK’s Permanent Representative to the European Union, represented the UK at the General Affairs Council (GAC) meeting in Luxembourg on 17 April 2018.

The agenda covered: Reform of the Electoral Act, Rule of Law in Poland /Article 7(1) Treaty on European Union (TEU) Reasoned Proposal and, under any other business, the Commission’s annual enlargement package.

A provisional report of the meeting and the conclusions adopted can be found on the Council of the European Union’s website at:

http://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/meetings/gac/2018/04/17/

Reform of the Electoral Act

Ministers discussed proposed amendments to the electoral law governing European Parliamentary elections. The majority of member states supported the text. The presidency indicated its hope that the file will be adopted by written procedure before the end of April to enable the proposals to come into force ahead of the 2019 EP elections.

Rule of Law in Poland / Article 7(1) TEU Reasoned Proposal

The Commission provided a positive assessment of progress in the dialogue between the Commission and the Polish authorities regarding the rule of law and Poland’s judicial reforms. Although changes introduced by the Polish Government to the reforms so far did not fully satisfy the Commission’s concerns, the Commission hoped that outstanding issues could be resolved in the coming weeks. The Commission indicated that it expected to present its final assessment on the rule of law at the next GAC in May.

The UK intervened to welcome progress and emphasise the importance of the issues and values at stake. The UK welcomed the positive momentum in the dialogue towards a solution and affirmed its support to both parties in taking dialogue forward.

AOB - Annual Enlargement Package

The Commission presented the 2018 annual enlargement package, assessing progress of the six western Balkan countries and Turkey on meeting the criteria for EU membership. The package recommended opening accession negotiations with Albania and Macedonia. The Presidency concluded by expressing hope that member states would reach agreement on the enlargement conclusions in June.

[HCWS643]