European Union – Participation by Mme Amélie de Montchalin in the General Affairs Council (Luxembourg, 9 April 2019)

Mme Amélie de Montchalin, Minister of State for European Affairs, will participate in the General Affairs Council in Luxembourg on 9 April.

The Council will begin by meeting in the so-called Article 50 format, i.e. as 27 members, to discuss the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union. Michel Barnier will present to ministers his analysis of the situation since the European Council of 21 March and ahead of the extraordinary European Council meeting of 10 April. On 5 April, the British Prime Minister made another request to extend the negotiation period until 30 June 2019. The Minister of State will recall that a further extension is neither a foregone conclusion nor automatic, and that it will have to be looked at by the heads of state and government on the basis of two main criteria: firstly, the UK’s presentation of a credible alternative plan, and secondly, safeguarding of the EU’s interests. The Minister of State will also recall that France is prepared for a scenario in which the UK leaves with no deal.

As 28 members, the ministers’ work will focus on the following main points:

  • multiannual financial framework 2021-2027: Mme Amélie de Montchalin will reiterate our commitment to the Common Agricultural Policy, in particular our determination to see the budget for this maintained at its current level among the 27. She will stress the importance of the cohesion policy.
  • Sustainable Development Goals: France will support conclusions reflecting the EU’s high degree of ambition to integrate the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into European and national policies.
  • Rule of law: the Council will make an assessment of the situation in Hungary and Poland under the procedure set out in Article 7, paragraph 1, of the Treaty on European Union. France and Germany will jointly recall their concern for the rule of law and respect in those two countries for the EU’s basic values. The Minister of State will ask for dialogue on those two countries to continue within the Council, including in the form of a first hearing for Hungary and a fourth hearing session for Poland.