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General Affairs Council, 14 December 2021

Met dank overgenomen van Raad van de Europese Unie (Raad), gepubliceerd op dinsdag 14 december 2021, 19:00.

Main results

Conclusions on enlargement and the stabilisation and association processes

Ministers approved Council conclusions on enlargement and stabilization and association process.

I am pleased that with the fellow ministers and state secretaries we unanimously agreed the Council conclusions on the enlargement and stabilisation and association process. Slovenia as the Council Presidency has been working to give new impetus to EU enlargement and has supported the Western Balkan countries in their efforts to move closer to the EU. We will continue building on our shared engagement and actively strive for the credible continuation of the enlargement process. The challenges faced by the Western Balkans are also the challenges faced by the EU, and it is crucial that we address them together, as we share the responsibility for our common future.

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

The discussion took place in the light of the Commission’s annual communication on EU enlargement policy and the reports on Montenegro, Serbia, Turkey, the Republic of North Macedonia, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo*.

The Council took stock of progress made and assessed the situation in each of the candidates and potential candidates, set out guidelines on reform priorities, and reaffirmed the Council’s commitment to the Union’s enlargement policy.

In the margins of the General Affairs Council, Intergovernmental Conferences with Montenegro and Serbia took place on 13 and 14 December.

European Council on 16 December 2021

The General Affairs Council exchanged views on the draft conclusions in preparation for the leaders’ meeting on 16 December in Brussels. The European Council will discuss developments related to COVID-19, crisis management and resilience, energy prices, security and defence, migration and the situation in Belarus and Ukraine.

On COVID-19, they are expected to discuss the current epidemiological situation of the pandemic and the emergence of a new COVID-19 variant, including the vaccine situation and coordination efforts.

EU leaders will also discuss the external dimension of migration.

The European Council will provide guidance on the draft Strategic Compass, which sets out to provide a common strategic vision for EU security and defence and which was presented on 9 November 2021.

The following issues will also be on the agenda: crisis management and resilience, after the adoption of conclusions by the General Affairs Council on 23 November 2021; the development in energy prices in the light of the preliminary reports prepared by the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER) and the European Securities Markets Authority (ESMA).

Leaders are expected to discuss the situation at the EU’s border with Belarus and Russia's border with Ukraine, as well as taking stock of the preparations for the EU-African Union Summit on 17-18 February 2022.

Conference on the Future of Europe

The presidency informed ministers of the state of play as regards the Conference on the Future of Europe, pointing to the challenges posed by the current epidemiological situation.

The Conference on the Future of Europe has been one of our clear priorities and a large part of it has taken place during our during the Slovenian Presidency of the Council. We have faced a difficult epidemiological situation, but we have done our best to still put citizens in the centre of this process and ensure their voices are heard. We are pleased that we have reached a stage where the focus is now fully on substance with the citizens delivering their first recommendations and that we have included our Western Balkans partners in the Plenary.

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

The next plenary session of the Conference is expected to take place in January.

Rule of law in Poland

Ministers reviewed the state of play regarding the rule of law in Poland, as part of the Article 7(1) TEU procedure.

Significant developments have occurred since the latest hearing of Poland at the General Affairs Council last June. The Commission provided ministers with an update and Poland presented its remarks.

The incoming French presidency announced their intention to hold a formal hearing during their mandate on the first half of next year.

The Article 7(1) TEU procedure was triggered for Poland on 20 December 2017 when the Commission published its reasoned proposal on the rule of law in Poland.

Respect for EU values in Hungary

The Council also took stock of the situation regarding respect for EU values in Hungary, as part of the Article 7(1) TEU procedure.

Significant developments have occurred in the case of Hungary since the latest hearing at the General Affairs Council last June. The Commission provided ministers with an update and Hungary presented its remarks.

The incoming French presidency announced their intention to hold a formal hearing during their mandate on the first half of next year.

The procedure concerning Hungary was triggered on 12 September 2018 when the European Parliament’s plenary adopted a resolution with a reasoned proposal asking the Council to determine whether there was a clear risk of a serious breach by Hungary of the values referred to in Article 2 TEU.

Report on antisemitism

The EU Agency for Fundamental Rights presented the report ‘Antisemitism: overview of antisemitic incidents recorded in the European Union 2010-2020’, issued on 9 November.

European Semester 2022

The Slovenian presidency and the incoming French presidency presented the Roadmap of the European Semester 2022, after the publication on 24 November of the autumn package by the Commission.

The central document of this package is the Annual Sustainable Growth Survey (ASGS), which again this year has been published together with the remaining package: the Proposal for a Joint Employment Report, the Recommendation on the euro area, Alert Mechanism Report, and the opinion on draft budgetary plans for euro area members states.

The objective of the Roadmap is to ensure that all relevant Council configurations and their preparatory bodies work in a coordinated and consistent manner towards the preparation of the European Council.

Legislative priorities for 2022

Ministers approved the Joint Declaration on the EU legislative priorities for 2022 during a public session.

Following the approval of the Joint Declaration by the Council, the presidents of the three institutions will sign it in the margins of the December European Council.

Council work programme

Ministers endorsed the eighteen-month programme of the Council (1 January 2022 - 30 June 2023).

France will hold the rotating presidency of the Council from January to June 2022, Czequia from July to December 2022 and Sweden from January to June 2023.

The Council also adopted without discussion the items that figured in the list of non-legislative A items.

  • * 
    This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244/1999 and the ICJ opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.

Meeting information

  • Meeting n°3840
  • Brussels
  • 14 December 2021

Preparatory documents

Outcome documents


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