General Affairs Council finalizes preparations for European Council
On 18 June in Luxembourg, the Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Albinas Zananavičius attended the General Affairs Council, which finalized preparations for the European Council meeting of 20-21 June.
Ahead of the June European Council meeting, the Council focused on the EU's next strategic agenda 2019-2024, the multiannual financial framework (MFF) for the 2021-2027 period, climate change, the extension of sectoral sanctions against Russia, the fight against disinformation, and the EU’s enlargement process.
“As regards the EU's common agricultural policy, Lithuania continues to call for full convergence of direct payments. It is important that the allocation of funding to EU regions should be based on the NUTS 2 classification. We negatively evaluate the weakened Horizon Europe text regarding the participation and the development of competencies across the EU. We call for a strengthened wording and a more specific commitment to address the issues of participation and competence development. Although some positive changes have already been made, the most important issues for Lithuania are not taken into account,” the Foreign Vice-Minister commented on the multiannual financial framework (MFF) for the 2021-2027 period.
The Council conclusions include a proposal by Lithuania and other like-minded nations to react to Russia's passportization in the occupied territories of Donbas and the continued illegal detention of Ukrainian sailors. The European Commission and the High Representative will also be tasked with drafting proposals for the future of the long-term Eastern partnership policy that will mark the 10th anniversary this year.
When discussing the fight against disinformation, A. Zananavičius drew attention to the need to strengthen the EU's resilience to external threats, including hybrid ones: “We call on the European External Action Service and the Commission, in cooperation with member states, from 1 December 2019 onwards to present annual progress reports with concrete proposals for further actions to ensure and improve the EU's response to disinformation. Cooperation with relevant international actors, such as the G7 and NATO, has to be explicitly mentioned.”