Ekaterina Zaharieva, Bulgarian Minister for Foreign Affairs. Photo: European Union
The EU Foreign and European Affairs ministers held a first exchange of views on the Commission proposal for the next long-term EU budget at the General Affairs Council meeting chaired by Bulgaria’s Deputy Prime Minister for Judicial Reform and Minister for Foreign Affairs Ekaterina Zaharieva. With this exchange of views, the Bulgarian Presidency kickstarted discussions on the next multiannual financial framework (MFF), less than two weeks after the draft was put on the table.
Commenting on today’s discussion, Foreign Affairs Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva said:
“The EU budget is a vital building block for the future of Europe, and an expression of our values and aspirations. Today's debate has kicked off negotiations on the next MFF, which will help us guarantee a stable and secure Europe to the benefit of us all. The Bulgarian Presidency is committed to ensuring rapid progress on this important issue.”
Following today’s first ministerial debate, the Bulgarian Presidency will continue work on the proposal at expert level. The next key political discussion on the future MFF will take place at the end of June, when EU leaders are expected to hold a first exchange of views on the proposal and decide on the timetable for negotiations.
The full draft agenda of EU leaders’ meetings at the end of June was another topic that Foreign and European Affairs ministers discussed on Monday. In addition to the MFF, the heads of state and government of EU’s 28 Member States are expected to discuss migration, security and defence, economic issues, digital Europe, research and innovation and external relations.
As a third point, ministers were given an update on the ongoing dialogue with the Polish authorities concerning the rule of law in Poland.
Ministers supported the efforts of the Commission to ensure that Poland does not deviate from respect for the rule of law principles.
Over lunch, ministers discussed the topic of “Key challenges from national point of view in the perspective of EP elections in 2019”.
Following the meeting, Ms Zaharieva gave a press conference together with Frans Timmermans, the First Vice-President of the European Commission.
More details about the outcome of the meeting are available here.
Pictures and videos are available here.