European Union - Amélie de Montchalin’s participation in the General Affairs Council (Luxembourg, 18 June 2019)

Amélie de Montchalin, Minister of State for European Affairs, attached to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, will take part in the General Affairs Council in Luxembourg on June 18.

The ministers will focus on the following main points:

a) Preparations for the European Council on June 20 and 21: The minister of state will reaffirm France’s priorities within the framework of the next strategic agenda due to be adopted by the European Council in order to set out the EU’s major political priorities for the next five years and to identify the mandate of the future president of the European Commission: the fight against climate change and environmental protection, modernization of the European economic and social model, strengthening and deepening of the Economic and Monetary Union, protection and security of the EU, including outside of the EU.

The minister of state will underscore our desire to improve the draft conclusions of the European Council, especially with respect to the following points: setting of the goal of climate neutrality for the EU by 2050 at the latest, in line with the goal of 1.5°C set by the Paris climate agreement, the importance of a strengthened partnership between the EU and Africa, the development of a plan for the security of European institutions, in order to allow the dissemination of a culture of security and cybersecurity within the institutions and the allocation of sufficient funds for this purpose. Lastly, the minister of state will reaffirm that the Euro Summit due to take place on June 21 must provide an opportunity to adopt decisions on the strengthening of the Economic and Monetary Union.

b) Future European budget: The ministers will examine a revised version of the Negotiating Box, which should be used to support a political agreement on the Multiannual Financial Framework for 2021-2027. This document is drawn up under the sole responsibility of the Presidency of the Council and is governed by the principle that “Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.” The minister of state will point out that the most recent proposals by the Romanian presidency form a basis for further discussion, while bearing in mind the goal of defining the political orientation of the heads of state and government in October.

She will emphasize the subjects that still need to be covered in depth: an ambitious approach to the climate and the environment; the protection, defense and security of Europe and its ability to act in the world; the convergence between fiscal and social policies, as well as conditions relating to the rule of law; and updating the “resources” section of the budget by creating our own new resources and immediately eliminating all rebates. Finally, she will reaffirm that, with respect to spending, the budget must be guided by the principle of “European added value,” which translates into maintaining the EU-27 CAP budget.

c) EU enlargement: the ministers will be invited to address the draft conclusions related to the enlargement package published by the Commission on May 29. The minister will note that the enlargement process must first and foremost take into account the priority of strengthening unity and improving EU operations, and that the enlargement process is based on rigorous criteria and the merits of the candidates for EU membership, with no pre-established timetable. She will also emphasize our support for greater EU engagement in the western Balkans while stressing that enlargement cannot be our only tool for managing relations with that region.