Brussels, 27 June 2023 (TDI): The General Affairs Council met on June 27, 2023, to prepare for the upcoming European Council meeting on June 29-30, 2023. Key topics for discussion during the summit were Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, economic issues, security and defense cooperation, migration, and the EU-CELAC summit with China.

Minister Jessika Roswall of Sweden, the outgoing EU Presidency, expressed pride in the progress made in recent months. The EU’s support for Ukraine and the migration pact were major achievements. Long-term competitiveness is now a top priority for the EU.

The European Council meeting will also provide updates on the progress toward the Strategic Agenda 2024-2029, outlining the EU’s future plans.

Regarding electoral law revisions, the Council reviewed the European Parliament’s proposal. Member states expressed support for strengthening the European dimension of EP elections but had varying views on specific provisions.

Furthermore, concerns were raised about the lead candidate process and the proposal for an EU-wide constituency based on transnational lists. The incoming Spanish presidency will continue work based on the survey results.

The Council endorsed its 18-month program covering July 1, 2023, to December 31, 2024. The program focuses on reinforcing the EU’s global competitiveness, ensuring fair and inclusive twin transitions, and strengthening international partnerships, cooperation, and security.

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As part of the 2023 European Semester, the Council approved integrated country-specific recommendations (CSRs). These recommendations guide national reforms based on EU-level priorities. They will be endorsed by the European Council in June and formally adopted by the Council in July.

The Council received information from Poland on the EU Emissions Trading System and the challenges posed by increased energy prices. The presidency also highlighted the Stockholm symposium on democracy and the rule of law, which took place on June 21-22, 2023.

The General Affairs Council meeting paved the way for the European Council gathering. EU leaders will discuss critical issues such as Ukraine, migration, and electoral law revisions. The outcomes will shape the EU’s future approach to global challenges.