Ministarstvo vanjskih i europskih poslova RH

Press Release:

Brussels, 18 June 2020 - State Secretary Brnjac participated in the last plenary session of the European Parliament during Croatia's Presidency of the EU Council from 17 to 19 June

At the last plenary session during the Croatian Presidency of the Council, State Secretary Brnjac thanked the members of the European Parliament for supporting Croatian Presidency program and priorities and wished them much success in their further work for the benefit of European citizens. She emphasized that the good cooperation between the Parliament, the Council and the Commission was invaluable for the urgent adoption of the first European measures to preserve health systems and the economy in the context of COVID 19. She expressed hope that such cooperation would continue to ensure the timely adoption of an ambitious Recovery Plan for Europe.

Regarding the preparation of a video conference of the European Council to be held on 19 June, State Secretary Brnjac pointed out that ongoing intensive technical and political meetings in the Council on the main elements of the Recovery Plan and the future MFF will serve as basis for discussion of heads of states and governments. Regarding the new partnership with the United Kingdom, which will also be discussed by the European leaders, she expressed the Council's support for the chief negotiator, Mr. Barnier, in accelerating the dynamics of negotiations over the summer with the aim of preparing a draft of a future partnership.

During discussion on the Conference on the Future of Europe, Ms. Brnjac emphasized the dedicated work of the Croatian Presidency on achieving consensus in the Council, with the aim of reaching an agreement with the Parliament and the Commission on the timing and manner of launching the Conference. She also emphasized her firm belief that the Council's position would be adopted by the end of Croatian Presidency.

Regarding the protection of European strategic sectors from foreign takeovers after the pandemic, State Secretary said that Europe's future economic growth and recovery depend, among other things, on global trade and foreign investment, but the Union must preserve sectors and companies that are key to its security and represent the backbone of the European economy.

During the debate on the fight against disinformation campaigns in the context of COVID 19, the so-called "infodemic", and the impact on freedom of expression, State Secretary Brnjac said that the Croatian Presidency had already activated the Integrated Political Crisis Response mechanism at the end of January with the aim of exchanging information among all relevant European stakeholders. In particular, she emphasized that measures taken to defend against the "infodemic" should not be used as an excuse to censor news and information or to violate fundamental rights.

On the topic of protection of cross-border and seasonal workers in the context of the crisis caused by COVID-19, State Secretary spoke about the importance of safe working conditions, adequate health care, as well as providing adequate protective equipment and accommodation for seasonal workers.

Finally, in response to an oral question from the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) on the situation in the Schengen area following the outbreak of COVID-19, State Secretary Brnjac informed the Members of the European Parliament of the intention of all Member States to lift the internal border controls and related restrictions by the end of June.

On the sidelines of the plenary session, State Secretary signed four legislative acts on behalf of the Croatian Presidency of the Council together with the President of the European Parliament Sassoli (Decision empowering Germany to amend its existing bilateral road transport agreement with Switzerland, Decision empowering Italy to negotiate and conclude an agreement with Switzerland authorising cabotage operations in the course of international road passenger transport services by coach, Regulation on Community statistics on migration and international protection and Regulation on the establishment of a framework to facilitate sustainable investment).