EU Ministers for European Affairs today expressed their willingness to use the revised Negotiating Box as a basis for reaching a compromise by the end of the year in the negotiations for the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF). The revised Negotiating Box, which outlines the main elements and options for the MFF negotiations, was the main focus of discussions during today’s General Affairs Council meeting in Brussels.
During today’s General Affairs Council, an exchange of views took place regarding the revised Negotiating Box, drafted by the Cyprus Presidency. The Presidency revised the Negotiating Box after the fruitful discussions that took place at the informal Council meeting in Lefkosia (Nicosia) on August 30 and following the bilateral meetings of July.
Encouragement to move forward
Deputy Minister Ambassador Andreas D. Mavroyiannis, who chaired the GAC meeting, expressed his satisfaction on the outcome of the debate in the press conference which followed, stating:
“In the light of the constructive comments made by Ministers, we feel encouraged to go ahead and prepare the ground for a compromise.”
In revising the Negotiating Box, the Presidency attempted to portray the overall picture of the discussions so far and to take account of the key priorities of Member States. In the revision, the Presidency indicated the need to adjust the Commission's proposal downwards and that a reduction should be achieved by targeted cuts in all headings.
“As expected, not all elements of our revised negotiating box were welcomed by most or all member states. But all Member States accepted the revised negotiating box as a basis for further work,” said Ambassador Mavroyiannis.
Next steps in the negotiations
Upon highlighting the overall determination of the Member States to reach an agreement by the European Council meeting of November 22 and 23, the Deputy Minister was upbeat about the procedure. He stressed that a prompt agreement would contribute significantly to the promotion of growth and job creation.
“I am particularly satisfied to see that we all share the same aim, that of working for a conclusion of the deal at the November European Council meeting. A timely agreement”, Ambassador Mavroyiannis added, “would demonstrate Europe’s ability to take decisions on difficult issues”.
At the meeting, Commissioner Lewandowski presented to the Ministers the Commission’s new proposal for the new VAT based own resource.
The General Affairs Council will meet twice before the European Council of 22-23 November. The Cyprus Presidency will now reflect on the comments made by delegations, and try to fine-tune the Negotiating Box. The next rendez-vous of ministers will be on the General Affairs Council of October 16, where a more informal discussion is foreseen.
The Presidency will issue a new revised Negotiating Box in which, narrow ranges and, wherever possible, figures will be inserted. The Cabinet of the President of the European Council will hold bilateral consultations in the week of November 5 which will aim, on the basis of a newly revised Negotiating Box, to facilitate further progress on the way to European Council. After these bilateral consultations, the Negotiating Box will be revised accordingly in view of the discussion of the draft European Council conclusions at the General Affairs Council on 20 November.
During today’s meeting, EU Affairs Ministers also discussed other issues concerning the Union, including the draft agenda for the upcoming European Council in October, while an assessment of the 2012 European Semester was conducted.
The Commission also presented its proposals for the statute and funding of European political parties and foundations while it briefed the Council on the implementation of the national Roma strategies.
Telephone: +32 27395152
Mobile: +32 473400441
Office of the Deputy Minister for European Affairs
Multiannual Financial Framework
Telephone: +357 22400144
Watch the press conference here
Find more related photos here