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EU enlargement at heart of General Affairs Council

Luxembourg,18 June 2019 – Minister of Foreign Affairs Miro Cerar today attended a General Affairs Council meeting, which focused on EU enlargement, discussion around the new EU multiannual financial framework for the 2021–2027 period and preparations for the European Council meeting in June.



Minister Miro Cerar supported the efforts for an ambitious time-line regarding negotiations on the new EU budget and the completion of negotiations by the end of this year.   Pointing out Slovenia’s main priorities, he spoke in favour of maintaining the current cohesion envelope, as put forward by the European Commission, and of finding a solution to the envisaged cuts in rural development funds. Furthermore, he highlighted the importance of statistical data in calculating the cohesion envelopes for the 2014-2016 period. Considering the economic growth recorded during the last two years, the use of data from the later period would be less favourable for Slovenia.


In the debate on the stabilization and association process, Minister Cerar advocated a credible response of the Council to the Commission’s recommendations on enlargement and the opening of accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania, as well as the adoption of ambitious Council conclusions. He concluded on the note that a positive message on continued EU enlargement should be sent to Western Balkan countries having met the criteria for opening negotiations with the European Union, pointing to the significance of the North Macedonian reform achievements and the importance of the Prespa Agreement and the progress of Albania.


After several hours of discussion, the ministers took note of the recommendations of the European Commission about the opening of negotiations and its positive assessment of the progress of both countries. Due to time limitations, they called for a prompt decision of the Council on the opening of the negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania not later than October.  On this occasion, the ministers explicitly welcomed the landmark Prespa Agreement, which solved the long-standing name issue between Macedonia and Greece.