Ekaterina Zaharieva, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bulgaria, photo: European Union
With Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Ekaterina Zaharieva as chair, European and foreign affairs ministers discussed changes to the EU electoral law ahead of the European Parliament elections in May 2019 at the General Affairs Council meeting that took place today in Luxembourg.
The Bulgarian Presidency's compromise proposal – also known as the "7 plus 2" package – foresees a series of changes aimed at preventing double voting, encouraging voting in third countries, enabling different voting methods, and improving the visibility of European political parties in the member states. Today ministers discussed the possibility of introducing a minimum 2% threshold in constituencies where over 35 Members of the European Parliament are elected. The discussion showed that more time is needed for the Council to reach a unanimous decision.
Another of today's focus items was the rule of law in Poland. Ministers listened to a presentation by European Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans on the latest developments and the ongoing dialogue with the Polish authorities. They will return to this issue at the next meeting.
Finally, the EU ministers listened to a presentation by the Commission on the 2018 Enlargement package, just a few hours after its official adoption. Given the importance of EU enlargement policy for the Bulgarian Presidency, our objective is to agree Council Conclusions on Enlargement and the Stabilisation and Association Process in June.
"One of the main priorities of the Bulgarian Presidency is the European perspective of the Western Balkan countries. We are absolutely convinced that an European perspective is the only way to have a stable, democratic, prosperous and peaceful Western Balkans region,"
said Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Ekaterina Zaharieva.
"We would like to thank the Commission for the work done so far, we have already outlined the next steps from the Council side. We hope that we will be able to reach a consensus and to adopt conclusions in June,“
Following the meeting, Ekaterina Zaharieva gave a press conference, in which European Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans also took part.
More information about today's meeting is available here.
Pictures and videos are available here.