Participation of the Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Ioannis Kasoulides in the EU General Affairs Council
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Ioannis Kasoulides, participated today in the last EU General Affairs Council, taking place during the French Presidency of the EU, in Luxembourg. The talks focused on the preparations for the European Council on 23 and 24 June, which will address, inter alia, the proposal to establish a "European Political Community" and the European perspective of Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia, as well as the Western Balkans region. Ministers also exchanged views on the outcome of the Conference on the Future of Europe and on EU-UK relations. In addition, they adopted the Commission Country Specific Recommendations (CSRs) in the framework of the European Semester 2022 in relation to the updated Stability or Convergence Programs.
Speaking during the discussion on the preparations for the European Council, the Foreign Minister referred to the prospect of creating a so-called "European Political Community", based on the vision presented by President Macron at the plenary session of the European Parliament on 9 May. We agree with the idea of creating a framework for political consultations, provided that the states participating share the same values and goals as the EU, said Mr. Kasoulides. At the same time, he emphasized the need to preserve the decision-making autonomy of the EU and the Member States with regard to the participation of third countries, and stressed that it could not be a substitute for the enlargement process.
Referring to enlargement issues in general, the Foreign Minister welcomed the European Commission's positive views on granting candidate status to Ukraine and Moldova, as well as to Georgia on conditions, noting that a merit-based approach should be taken following the current procedures without making promises we can not keep. At the same time, he said the enlargement process in the Western Balkans needs to be revived.
Speaking during the debate on the outcome of the Conference on the Future of Europe, the Foreign Minister emphasized the need to focus first on specific issues that are important to the citizens and which can be implemented quickly within the existing framework of the Treaties.