Chapter News

Video conference of ministers for European affairs, 26 May 2020

May 26, 2020 |

Main results

Ministers held an exchange of views on a comprehensive approach to the COVID-19 pandemic, including the de-escalation of containment measures and economic recovery.

They were invited to share their experiences and provide comments on how to gradually lift restrictions related to COVID-19 and restart the economy and social activities, taking into account the health considerations.

Ministers outlined their national measures and timelines, stressing the importance of continued cooperation between member states, as well as ensuring a proportionate and non-discriminatory approach when lifting the restrictions and opening the borders.

The European Union must continue with a comprehensive and coordinated approach to the de-escalation of containment measures. We should carefully strike a balance between resuming economic and social activities and protecting the health of our citizens. We should jointly create the conditions for a speedy exit from the crisis and the economic recovery of all member states. – Andreja Metelko-Zgombić, Croatian State Secretary for European Affairs

Ministers also provided their views on a comprehensive economic and social recovery of the EU. They outlined their expectations regarding adjustments to the next multiannual financial framework to take into account the new realities and as regards the planned recovery fund.

A number of key areas of action were mentioned in the discussion, such as strengthening the single market whilst ensuring a level playing field, supporting cohesion and convergence, green transition and digital transformation, and enhancing the EU’s strategic autonomy.

Several speakers pointed out that the Conference on the Future of Europe would be relevant for discussing with EU citizens and other stakeholders the challenges facing the EU in the medium and long term, including the lessons learned from the COVID-19 crisis. The presidency highlighted that its aim is to find an agreement on the Council’s position on the conference as soon as possible and to engage on this basis with the Commission and the European Parliament.

Under ‘any other business’, the Commission informed ministers about the state of play in the preparation of the first annual report on the rule of law in the EU, planned for September. It underlined that the report remains a priority for the Commission and that preparations are well on track despite the difficult circumstances. The aim is to ensure objectivity and an equal treatment of all member states.

Compliments of the European Council.