General Affairs Council: extracts from the press conference by the Irish Presidency and the European Commission
Lieu: Brussels, Belgium - Council
End production: 25/06/2013 First transmission: 25/06/2013
On 25 June, Eamon Gilmore, Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs, General Affairs Council and Maroš Šefcovic, Vice-President of the EC in charge of Inter-Institutional Relations and Administration, held he press conference of the General Affairs Council.
Ministers made progress on the accession negotiations with Turkey, Serbia and Kosovo.
On Turkey, the Council also agreed to open chapter 22 on regional policy and underscored that the intergovernmental conference will take place after the presentation of the Commissions annual progress report. Regarding the peaceful protests taking place in Turkey, Eamon Gilmore underlined that 'the EU accession process is the most effective tool. The protests have also shown that Turkey needs further reforms.'
In its preparations for the European Council meeting on 27-28 June, the Council held a videoconference with European Council President Herman Van Rompuz and had an exchange of views on the basis of draft conclusions. The three major priorities will be tackling the issue of young unemployment, unblocking the financing to the EU economy and the endorsement of the country specific recommendations.
The Council took note of the state of play in the discussions between the Irish presidency and representatives of the European Parliament and of the Commission on the EU's multiannual financial framework for 2014-2020.
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
||SOUNDBITE (in English) Eamon Gilmore, Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs: Firstly we decided to open a new chapter in our negotiations with Turkey. We decided to open the chapter 22 dealing with regional policy. We have in principle adopted the EU common decision on this chapter.
||Cutaway of the audience
||SOUNDBITE (in English) Eamon Gilmore: While we have been disturb by the reaction to the recent peaceful protest in Turkey, I believe that the EU accession process is the most effective tool, we have in advancing the reform agenda in Turkey. EU inspired reforms have facilitated the increasing space of peaceful protest and voices. The protests have also shown that Turkey needs further reforms, moving ahead with the EU accession process by opening this chapter will allow the EU to continue contributing to shaping the direction of future reforms in Turkey.
||Cutaway of the audience
||SOUNDBITE (in English) Maroš Šefcovic, Vice-President of the EC in charge of Inter-Institutional Relations and Administration: Clearly for the EU Commission there are three major priorities for this EU Council, this is tackling the issue of young unemployment, then unblocking the financing to the EU economy, to the SME's, and then the endorsement of the country specific recommendation which will conclude the EU semester.
||General view of press conference