Photo: European Union
With Bulgaria's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Ekaterina Zaharieva as chair, the European and foreign affairs ministers of the EU member states adopted on Tuesday the annotated draft agenda for the March European Council meeting, which will take place on 22 and 23 March 2018.
In March, the heads of state or government of the EU member states will speak about progress on the completion of the single market, the European semester and social issues, ministers agreed today.
At the meeting on Tuesday, Ms Zaharieva also presented the Bulgarian presidency's priorities for the first half of 2018. She underlined the strategic importance of the European perspective and the connectivity of the Western Balkans. Ms Zaharieva said that Bulgaria will follow a pragmatic approach, focusing on measures of practical significance for citizens and economies.
Finally, the European and foreign affairs ministers listened to a presentation by the European Commission under Article 7(1) TEU concerning the rule of law in Poland.
The presentation forms part of the first phase of the procedure under Article 7(1) TEU. In parallel, the Commission is pursuing a dialogue with the Polish authorities and has issued recommendations to them for action by 20 March.
The next steps in the procedure will depend on the outcome of this dialogue. The Council will revert to this issue in due course.
Commenting on the issue, Ms Zaharieva said:
"We encourage the continuation of the dialogue between the European Commission and Poland. A positive outcome would help the Union to focus on the agenda we need to take forward in 2018."
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.