Today, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bulgaria Ekaterina Zaharieva chaired the General Affairs Council meeting in an EU-27 format (GAC Article 50). That was the last meeting of this Council formation under the Bulgarian Presidency.
During the meeting, the EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier i briefed the ministers on the state of play in the Brexit negotiations, focusing on the next steps. The ministers made comments on the progress made, on the envisaged actions on the remaining topics and on the framework for the future relationship with the United Kingdom.
Then the ministers examined the draft conclusions to be adopted by the European Council (Article 50) on Friday 29 June 2018. The Heads of State or Government are expected to:
-Welcome the progress made on parts of the legal text of the Withdrawal Agreement and highlight the importance of advancing on all open issues;
-Express concern regarding the lack of substantial progress on agreeing a backstop solution for Ireland/Northern Ireland and insist on intensified efforts in this regard;
-Highlight the importance of realistic and workable proposals from the UK in the context of the future relationship and confirm the readiness of the European Council to account for changes in the UK’s red lines; and
-Recall the importance of preparedness.
Commenting on today’s meeting, Ms Zaharieva said:
"With March 2019 quickly approaching, we need to find solutions to all remaining issues in a timely manner and in full respect of commitments made so far. Regarding the framework for the future relationship, we need realistic and workable proposals from the UK as regards its position. The work on preparedness at all levels and for all outcomes must be stepped up."
More information about today’s meeting is available here.
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