General Affairs Council: extracts from the joint press conference by the Irish Presidency and the European Commission
Lieu: Luxembourg (town), Luxembourg - Council
End production: 22/04/2013 First transmission: 22/04/2013
On 22 April, Janusz Lewandowski, Member of the EC in charge of Budget and Financial Programming, Štefan Füle, Member of the EC in charge of Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy, and Eamon Gilmore, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade of Ireland, held the press conference of the General Affairs Council.
They discussed the state of play in the negotiations with the European Parliament on the next multiannual financial framework (MFF), which lays down the EU's budgetary priorities for the years 2014-2020. Having sought guidance from Ministers, the Presidency is confident that negotiations with the European Parliament will be successful.
The General Affairs Council also welcomed the joint reports issued today by the Commission the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy on the progress in European integration made by Serbia and Kosovo, three days after Belgrade and Pristina struck a landmark deal in the EU-facilitated dialogue. Given the progress achieved, the Commission recommends to EU member states that negotiations be opened with Serbia on EU accession, and with Kosovo on a Stabilisation and Association Agreement with the EU.
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
||Introduction of the speakers
||SOUNDBITE (in English) Eamon Gilmore, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade of Ireland: Having heard the Parliament's concerns and having listened very carefully to the views of Member States this morning, I am convinced that we can, with sufficient goodwill on all sides, find the compromises necessary to reach a satisfactory agreement on the MFF. The Parliament has linked the MFF with the 2013 budget and specifically with the Commission's proposal for an amending budget of 11.2 billion Euros. So as not to delay our discussions on the MFF, we propose to take both processes forward in parallel.
||Cutaway of a cameraman
||SOUNDBITE (in English) Eamon Gilmore: Given that the reports on Kosovo and Serbia were only adopted as we started our meeting this morning, we just had a very first set of reactions from Member States. We will now consider the Commission's reports on all three countries before coming back in June, with a view to taking any necessary decisions.
||SOUNDBITE (in English) Janusz Lewandowski, Member of the EC in charge of Budget and Financial Programming: In both areas this was very constructive and I think this is opening the door to the formal negotiations that should start this week. Should start this week in order not to waste time and to deliver to the people by the end of June, what they are waiting for.
||SOUNDBITE (in Engslish) Štefan Füle, Member of the EC in charge of Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy: Given the progress achieved, the Commission has recommended to EU Member States that negotiations be opened with Serbia on EU accession and with Kosovo on the stabilisation and association agreement with the European Union. Serbia and Kosovo have proved that they can both focus on the future rather than staying entangled in the past, and our recommendations today are therefore clear: both Serbia and Kosovo deserve to move on decisively in their European Union perspectives.