Press release – The General Affairs Council to prepare the special meeting of the European Council dedicated to the MFF
19.11.2012, 09:05 (CET)
This week, all eyes turn to the special European Council taking place on November 22-23, which will solely address the European Union’s future Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) for the period 2014-2020.  The meeting will be prepared by the General Affairs Council (GAC) that convenes in Brussels on Tuesday, November 20, on the basis of draft conclusions published on November 13, by the President of the European Council, Mr. Herman Van Rompuy. The Cyprus Presidency, for which work on the MFF has been a top priority, is positive ahead of the next European Council meeting. Moreover, on Tuesday, the GAC will aim to reach its fourth partial general approach on further elements of the cohesion policy legislative package for 2014-2020.

With the objective of the upcoming special meeting of the European Council on November 22-23 to reach an agreement on the future MFF, Ministers for European Affairs will meet in Brussels on Tuesday, November 20.

Draft European Council Conclusions on the MFF

The Council, chaired by Cyprus’ Deputy Minister for European Affairs, Ambassador Andreas D. Mavroyiannis, will prepare the special meeting, on the basis of draft European Council conclusions, prepared by the President of the European Council.

These draft conclusions have replaced the MFF Negotiating Box, although it retains its structure and function, i.e. to outline the main elements and options. Unlike the draft conclusions, all versions of the MFF negotiating box were prepared under the responsibility of the rotating Presidencies of the Council of the EU.

As reflected in the latest version of its negotiating box of October 29, the Cyprus Presidency believes that it is inevitable that the total level of expenditure proposed by the Commission will have to be adjusted downwards and that the reductions need to be made across the board. The revised Negotiating Box was a starting point to reflect on the effects of reductions; the Cyprus Presidency has acknowledged that more sizeable reductions are needed to reach a compromise.

The draft conclusions confirm this approach. They propose further reductions to the total amount of the MFF compared to the latest Negotiating Box presented by the Cyprus Presidency. The reductions concern all the headings for the different categories of expenditure.

Ministers will exchange views with the President of the European Council, Mr. Herman Van Rompuy, on the MFF, during a dinner on November 19, the day prior to the GAC meeting. As on previous occasions, the Cyprus Presidency will have an exchange of views with representatives of the European Parliament before the Council meeting and debrief them afterwards.

“Despite the challenges I still maintain that reaching an agreement in the November 22-23 Extraordinary European Council is achievable. I trust that the stakeholders will not let the opportunity of coming up with a much-needed response to the crisis and of improving our credibility slip away,” said Ambassador Mavroyiannis ahead of the GAC meeting.

Continuing efforts on the cohesion policy legislative package

Following the third partial general approach on the legislative package for the 2014-2020 period agreed in Luxembourg during the previous GAC meeting of October 16, the Council aspires to agree on a fourth partial general approach during Tuesday’s meeting.

In particular, this partial general approach will include two elements:
 - financial management, aiming at ensuring that EU support under cohesion policy respects the principle of sound financial management and

- the common strategic framework, which will  provide strategic orientation to the programming and the coordination of EU support under the five funds.

This fourth general approach will enable the Cyprus Presidency to intensify informal trilogues with the European Parliament and the Commission so as to achieve a preliminary agreement on programming before the end of the year. This will facilitate preparatory work of Member States and regions for the programmes of the new period, 2014-2020. In parallel, the Cyprus Presidency will focus on progressing work on the remaining elements which need to be agreed at Council level.

Preparation of the December European Council

The Council will take note of a draft annotated agenda of the European Council meeting on December 13 and 14, which will focus on economic policy issues and, in particular, on the Economic and Monetary Union. In relation to the European Council of October 18-19, the GAC will take stock of the follow-up to the meeting, which also focused on economic policy, as well as strategic partners.

Moreover, in the context of the Council meeting, the European Commission will present its work programme for 2013.

Presidency Spokesperson in Brussels
Nikos Christodoulides

Coreper II

Telephone: +32 27395152
Mobile: +32 473400441
Communications Officer
Poly Papavassiliou

Office of the Deputy Minister for European Affairs

Telephone: +357 22400144


20.11.2012 - 20.11.2012