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COUNCIL OF
THE EUROPEAN UNION

EN

6762/11

PRESSE 31

PR CO 8

PRESS RELEASE

3068th Council meeting

General Affairs

Brussels, 21 February 2011

President János MARTONYI
Minister for Foreign Affairs of Hungary

Main results of the Council

The Council prepared the March meeting of the European Council, which is due to focus on economic policy issues, including the future European Stability Mechanism and legislative proposals on economic governance, and on developments in the EU's southern neighbourhood.

The Council for the first time adopted conclusions on the future of EU cohesion policy. The conclusions examine a Commission report and advocate a common strategic framework, which focuses on a limited number of priorities, in line with Europe 2020 goals, while providing for sufficient flexibility to allow for local needs.

CONTENTS1

PARTICIPANTS

ITEMS DEBATED

EUROPEAN COUNCIL

Follow-up to the February European Council

Preparation of the March European Council

COHESION POLICY

OTHER ITEMS APPROVED

TRADE POLICY

  • Anti-dumping - Polyethylene terephthalate - South Korea

TRANSPORT

  • Air services agreements with partner states in West Africa and Saudi Arabia

TRANSPARENCY

  • Public access to documents

PARTICIPANTS

Belgium:

Mr Steven VANACKERE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Institutional Reforms

Bulgaria:

Mr Nickolay MLADENOV Minister for Foreign Affairs

Czech Republic:

Mr Karl SCHWARZENBERG Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs

Denmark:

Ms Lene ESPERSEN Minister for Foreign Affairs

Germany:

Mr Werner HOYER Minister of State for European Affairs

Estonia:

Mr Urmas PAET Minister for Foreign Affairs

Ireland:

Mr Rory MONTGOMERY Permanent Representative

Greece:

Mr Dimitrios DROUTSAS Minister for Foreign Affairs

Spain:

Ms Trinidad JIMENEZ Minister for Foreign Affairs

France:

Mr Laurant WAUQUIEZ Secretary of State with responsibility for European Affairs

Italy:

Mr Franco FRATTINI Minister for Foreign Affairs

Cyprus:

Mr Markos KYPRIANO Minister for Foreign Affairs

Latvia:

Mr Andris TEIKMANIS Secretary of State, Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Lithuania:

Mr Egidijus MEILUNAS Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs

Luxembourg:

Mr Jean ASSELBORN Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Immigration

Hungary:

Mr János MARTONYI Minister for Foreign Affairs

Ms Enikö GYÖRI State Minister for European Affairs

Malta:

Mr Tonio BORG Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs

Netherlands:

Mr Ben KNAPEN Minister for European Affairs and International Cooperation

Austria:

Mr Walter GRAHAMMER Permanent Representative

Poland:

Mr Mikolaj DOWGIELEWICZ Secretary of State for European Affairs

Portugal:

Mr Pedro LOURTIE Secretary of State for European Affairs

Romania:

Mr Teodor BACONSCHI Minister for Foreign Affairs

Slovenia:

Mr Rado GENORIO Permanent Representative

Slovakia:

Mr Mikuláš DZURINDA Minister for Foreign Affairs

Finland:

Ms Astrid THORS Minister for Immigration and European Affairs

Sweden:

Ms Birgitta OHLSSON Minister for European Affairs

United Kingdom:

Mr David LIDINGTON Minister of State for Europe

Commission:

Mr Maroš ŠEFČOVIČ Vice-President

Mr Johannes HAHN Member

General Secretariat

Mr Pierre de BOISSIEU General Secretary

ITEMS DEBATED

EUROPEAN COUNCIL

Follow-up to the February European Council

The Council took stock of the follow-up to be given to the European Council's meeting on 4 February, which focused on energy and innovation.

Preparation of the March European Council

The Council examined a draft annotated agenda for the European Council meeting to be held on 24 and 25 March (doc. 6231/11).

The March European Council is due to focus on:

  • Economic policy: Conclusion of the first phase of the European Semester (annual monitoring of budgetary policies and structural reforms), adoption of a decision amending the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union with regard to the future European Stability Mechanism (ESM), finalisation of work on the ESM and on the strengthening of the European Financial Stability Facility, finalisation of work by the Council on legislative proposals on economic governance, and a decision on economic policy coordination in the euro area.

  • Developments in the EU's southern neighbourhood and follow-up to the 4 February European Council declaration on Egypt.

COHESION POLICY

The Council held a policy debate and adopted conclusions (doc. 6738/11) on a Commission report (doc. 16336/10), presented last November, on economic, social and territorial cohesion in the EU.

The Council conclusions stress the need for continued pursuit of the objective of reduced disparities between the development levels of the various regions of the EU and underline the contribution cohesion policy has made towards the EU's competitiveness and growth objectives. They also emphasize that cohesion policy should focus on a limited number of priorities, in line with the Europe 2020 strategy, while maintaining sufficient flexibility to allow for regional needs.

The conclusions call for further discussions on the following Commission suggestions:

  • the creation of a "development and investment partnership contract", which outlines an investment and development strategy addressing the priorities established under the Europe 2020 strategy for jobs and growth,

  • a list of priorities on which EU and national resources should focus,

  • conditionalities and incentive mechanisms linked to cohesion policy.

The Commission has to submit to the Council every three years a report examining progress made towards achieving economic, social and territorial cohesion. Its fifth cohesion report sets out its ideas for the reform of cohesion policy, following a debate which started with the fourth report in 2007.

Comments made during the Council debate will provide input to the Commission in its preparation of a legislative package for structural funds after 2013, which is due to be published before the summer.

The Council also adopted without discussion conclusions on a special report by the European Court of Auditors concerning the effectiveness of structural measures spending on the supply of water for domestic consumption, set out in document 6490/11.

OTHER ITEMS APPROVED

TRADE POLICY

Anti-dumping - Polyethylene terephthalate - South Korea

The Council adopted a regulation terminating a review of the anti-dumping measures applicable to imports of certain polyethylene terephthalate originating, inter alia, in the Republic of Korea, without amending the measures currently in force (5867/11).

TRANSPORT

Air services agreements with partner states in West Africa and Saudi Arabia

The Council authorised the conclusion of an air services agreement, signed in November 2009, between the EU and the West African Economic and Monetary Union1 (6190/09, 6646/10 + COR 1 and 6353/11), and the signing of such an agreement with Saudi Arabia (5733/11 + COR 2 and 6050/11).

The two agreements supersede or complement the existing bilateral agreements between individual member states and the partner countries concerned, bringing their provisions in line with EU law, in particular as regards non-discriminatory access of all EU air carriers to routes between the EU and the partner countries, aviation fuel taxation and competition rules.

TRANSPARENCY

Public access to documents

The Council adopted:

  • the reply to confirmatory application made by Ms Sigita URDZE (01/c/01/11), with the Danish, Finnish and Swedish delegations voting against (5275/11); and

  • the reply to confirmatory application No 02/c/01/11 (5704/11).

1 :

Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo.


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