22 Apr

At the informal videoconference meeting of the Ministers for European Affairs on 20 April 2021, Hungary was represented by Minister Judit Varga. The Council was chaired by Ana Paula Zacarias, Portuguese Secretary of State for EU Affairs, and the Commission was represented by Vice-Presidents Maroš Šefčovič and Dubravka Šuica, and by Commissioners Olivér Várhelyi and Didier Reynders.

EU-UK Relations

During the the informal videoconference of the Ministers for European Affairs on the 20th of April, the ministers discussed the state of play of EU- UK relations. In order to preserve the results of the peace process in Northern Ireland as well as the integrity of the EU’s internal market the Member States supported the Commission’s efforts to find solutions, jointly with the UK, to the problems identified in the implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol of the Withdrawal Agreement. They voiced their support for the two parties to draw up of a workplan setting out deadlines for the implementation steps. Member States also discussed the ratification process of the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement that has been provisionally applied since 1 January 2021, and expressed their hope that in the last week of April the European Parliament will put on its agenda the vote on their consent needed for the conclusion of the agreement. This is necessary for the agreement to enter into force on 1 May 2021.

Conference on the Future of Europe

During the meeting of the informal videoconference of the Ministers for European Affairs, ministers were informed by the Presidency about the state of play regarding the Conference on the Future of Europe, following the first two meetings of the Conference's Executive Board. The Conference on the Future of Europe is aimed at involving citizens in a wide-ranging debate on Europe’s future.

The Executive Board of the Conference on the Future of Europe launched the multilingual digital platform for the Conference on the Future of Europe on 19 April 2021, inviting all EU citizens to contribute to shaping their own future and that of Europe as a whole. (https://futureu.europa.eu/?locale=en)

The Presidency also informed the ministers that the opening event, scheduled for 9 May 2021, would take place in Strasbourg in a hybrid format, open to citizens in digital and interactive form. The opening event will also be televised and online.

By spring 2022, the Conference is expected to reach conclusions and provide guidance on the future of Europe.

Annual Rule of Law Dialogue country-specific discussion

During the informal videoconference of the Ministers of European Affairs, ministers held a country-specific debate on five Member States: Germany, Ireland, Greece, Spain and France in the framework of the annual rule of law dialogue.

COVID-19 EU coordination

The Commission and the Presidency briefed the ministers on the state of play on EU coordination regarding the Covid-19 epidemic, followed by an exchange of views on the most pressing issues concerning the epidemic, such as the current situation on vaccines, the ongoing work on digital green certificates, the overall epidemiological situation and travel restrictions.

Enlargement and Stabilisation and Association Process

The Presidency gave a state of play about the Enlargement and the Stabilisation and Association process and its priorities for the coming months, namely to finalise the negotiations on the IPA III (Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance) Regulation, to organize Intergovernmental conferences with Montenegro and Serbia under the revised enlargement methodology, and to organise the first Intergovernmental conferences  with North-Macedonia and Albania.