State Secretary for European Affairs Andreja Metelko-Zgombić 14 May 2018 in Brussels attended a meeting of the General Affairs Council.
The Council began preparations for the European Council meeting, which will take place on 28 and 29 June, by discussing an annotated draft agenda.
The Commission presented to the Council its proposals for the post-2020 multiannual financial framework (MFF) and ministers had a first round of discussions.
Metelko-Zgombić outlined Croatia’s position that the Commission’s proposal represented a solid starting point for the upcoming debate between the member states and EU institutions. Croatia’s priorities are still adequate financing of cohesion policy and common agricultural policy, ensuring appropriate means for dealing with migrations, stronger cooperation in security and defence, as well as greater investment in science, research and digitalization as the basis for continued growth and development of the EU and its member states.
The Council also discussed the situation with regard to the rule of law in Poland. The Commission updated ministers on the latest developments in its dialogue with the Polish authorities. The Council will return to this issue at its next meeting in June.
At the meeting of the GAC (Article 50), the EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier briefed the Council about the ongoing Brexit negotiations. Ministers discussed the state of play in the talks with the UK, in relation to both the completion of the work on withdrawal issues to finalise the draft withdrawal agreement, and to the discussions on the framework of the future EU-UK relations.
Metelko-Zgombić commended the progress of the negotiations, stressing the need the keep the EU27 unity as they continue and expressing support for the negotiating team and Irish colleagues in finding concrete and sustainable solutions for Ireland and Northern Ireland. As for future relations, Metelko-Zgombić underlined Croatia’s commitment to close and partnership relations in areas of joint EU-UK interest, in keeping with the basic principles determined by the European Council.
On the margins of the GAC, Metelko Zgombić held bilateral talks with Austrian Federal Minister Gernot Blümel. The two officials exchanged opinions on the preparations for the upcoming Austria’s (second half of 2018) and Croatia’s EU presidency as well as other European topics.