Government and ministries Media

Minister for European Affairs Tuppurainen to chair General Affairs Council meeting

Government Communications Department 18.11.2019 15.36 | Published in English on 18.11.2019 at 16.19
Press release 597/2019

Finland’s Minister for European Affairs Tytti Tuppurainen will chair a meeting of the General Affairs Council of the EU in Brussels on Tuesday 19 November. The main items on the Council agenda are the EU’s multiannual financial framework (MFF), preparations for the December European Council, strengthening the rule of law in the EU, and enlargement.

At the meeting, Tuppurainen will present the state of play and next steps in the negotiations on the financial framework. Finland’s Presidency is taking the negotiations forward on the basis of guidance issued by the European Council in June and October 2019. Finland’s main objective is to produce a finalised ‘negotiating box’ with precise figures. The negotiating box is a draft agreement on the EU’s future financial framework, to be discussed and finalised by the heads of state and government in the European Council. Ultimately the decision on when the European Council will enter the final negotiations rests with its President (since 1 December, the Belgian Charles Michel).

At the General Affairs Council of 19 November, the European affairs ministers will hold an exchange of views on enhancing respect for the rule of law with Michael O’Flaherty, Director of the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights. This will be followed by a discussion on enhancing the Council’s annual rule of law dialogue. Finland’s Presidency has drawn up draft conclusions on the rule of law dialogue for the ministers to adopt at the meeting. The idea is to replace the current format of this dialogue with a more general annual discussion on the state of rule of law within the EU.

”The tripod of democracy, fundamental rights and the rule of law stands or falls together. As the Council Presidency, we are committed to do our utmost to preserve and strengthen our common value base. What could be more important? Our approach is positive and constructive. However, the presidency cannot achieve results alone. It is only together that we can succeed”, Minister Tuppurainen says. 

The Council will take stock of the situation in the enlargement process, following up on discussions in the General Affairs Council and the European Council in October on opening accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania. Tuesday’s meeting will not adopt conclusions on this subject, however.

The Council will also discuss the draft agenda for the European Council meeting in December, the main items being climate change and the multiannual financial framework. The European Council may also discuss topical issues of external policy.

The General Affairs Council is mainly made up of the European affairs ministers from EU Member States. Its tasks include preparing European Council meetings. It is responsible for a number of cross-cutting policy areas, including negotiations on the multiannual financial framework and EU enlargement. Questions relating to the rule of law are also an established part of the Council’s agenda. Minister Tuppurainen is chairing the General Affairs Council meetings during Finland’s Presidency of the Council of the EU (1 July–31 December 2019).

Inquiries: Heli Siivola, senior specialist for EU affairs, tel. (+358) 295 160 476 and Matti Niemi, special adviser, tel. (+358) 45 679 1717, Prime Minister’s Office