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General Affairs Council

Volume 666: debated on Tuesday 15 October 2019

I will attend the General Affairs Council in Luxembourg on 15 October 2019 to represent the UK. The UK Government have decided that from 1 September until exit day, UK Ministers and officials will only attend EU meetings where the UK has a significant national interest in the outcome of the discussions.

The provisional agenda includes:

Preparation of the European Council on 17-18 October 2019 and European Council follow-up

The Council will discuss preparations for the October European Council, for which the agenda includes: the multiannual financial framework; the next institutional cycle; climate change; and other items such as specific foreign policy issues. The European Council (Art 50) will meet in EU27 format to discuss the state of play regarding Brexit. Ministers will also take stock of the implementation of previous European Council conclusions.

Enlargement and the stabilisation and association processAlbania and the Republic of North Macedonia

Enlargement is the process whereby European countries are able to join the European Union. The October General Affairs Council will consider whether or not to open EU accession negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia. The Commission’s 2018 and 2019 enlargement progress reports recommended opening negotiations with both.

Any other business: Transparency seminar (Brussels, 24 September 2019)

The Finnish presidency will update the Council on a transparency seminar that it hosted on 24 September. The UK did not attend the seminar due to the current policy on attending EU meetings. This is largely an information-only item. Finland is keen to enhance the openness and transparency of the legislation process. It is seeking to facilitate discussions between member states and the institutions during its presidency, with the aim of reaching agreement on a number of measures to make the Council’s work more transparent.