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General Affairs Council, 19 October 2021

Met dank overgenomen van Raad van de Europese Unie (Raad), gepubliceerd op dinsdag 19 oktober 2021, 17:00.

Main results

European Council on 21-22 October

The General Affairs Council exchanged views on the draft conclusions of the European Council meeting to be held on 21-22 October.

EU leaders will meet in Brussels to discuss COVID-19, digital transformation, energy prices, migration, trade and external relations.

The European Council will take stock of the epidemiological situation following the significant progress brought by the vaccination campaigns against COVID-19 around Europe. Leaders are also expected to discuss free movement and travel as well as prevention, preparedness and response to future health emergencies. The European Council will also address international solidarity and the need to ensure access to vaccines for all.

On Europe’s digital transformation, leaders are expected to review and call for progress on the digital agenda and key legislative files, as well recall the importance of digital connectivity and global partnerships.

EU leaders will discuss the recent hike in energy prices. Leaders will assess what measures can be taken at both national and European level to address the impacts of this price increase.

Regarding migration, the European Council will assess the implementation of its conclusions of June 2021.

EU leaders will also hold a strategic discussion on trade.

On external relations, the European Council is expected to take stock of preparations for:

  • the ASEM summit to be held virtually on 25-26 November 2021
  • the Eastern Partnership summit on 15 December 2021
  • the meeting of COP26 on climate change on 31 October-12 November 2021 in Glasgow
  • the meeting of COP15 on biological diversity in Kunming

In the light of events, the European Council may address other specific foreign policy issues.

Annual rule of law dialogue

In the framework of the annual rule of law dialogue, Ministers held a horizontal discussion focusing on developments in the EU, structured around four pillars: justice systems; the anti-corruption framework; media pluralism; other institutional issues linked to checks and balances.

The discussion in Council made use of the rule of law report by the Commission, which was issued on 20 July 2021.

The rule of law is the cornerstone of our European project and the guarantor of the most basic everyday rights and freedoms. This is why this annual stock-taking is so important. The dialogue fully respects the principles of objectivity, non-discrimination and equal treatment of all member states, which is also promoted by Slovenia as the country holding the Presidency.

Gašper Dovžan, State Secretary at the Slovenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Country-specific aspects will be covered at the meeting of General Affairs Council in November for five member states (Croatia, Italy, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania).

Conference on the Future of Europe

The Presidency informed about the state of play of the Conference on the Future of Europe, after the first European citizens' panels took place.

All four panels have already had their inaugural sessions. The fourth panel, focusing on the role of the EU in the world and on migration, met for the first time on 15-17 October. The first sessions of the panels have served to identify streams and subtopics that participants will discuss in greater depth in the following sessions.

The Presidency also provided updates on the preparations for the next plenary of the Conference, which will take place in Strasbourg on 23 October.

I am pleased that the first meetings of the European citizens’ panels had set into action the substantive work of the Conference on the Future of Europe. The Conference should focus on content in the interest of European citizens. The latter play a central role in the broad debate on what the Union should be like in the future in order to meet their expectations.

Gašper Dovžan, State Secretary at the Slovenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

International conference

The Presidency informed about the outcome of the international conference “Illusive Reconciliation: Transitional Processes in Central and Eastern Europe in a Comparative Perspective”.

Cybersecurity

The Council adopted conclusions inviting the EU and member states to further develop the EU cybersecurity crisis management framework, including by exploring the potential of a joint cyber unit.

Meeting information

  • Meeting n°3820
  • Luxembourg
  • 19 October 2021
  • 10:00

Preparatory documents

Outcome documents


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