- Published: 20.09.2022.
State Secretary Metelko-Zgombić attends GAC
The Czech presidency presented to ministers its overall priorities, which Croatia supports, notably the continuation of assistance for Ukraine in light of Russia’s aggression and addressing the consequent security, energy, economic and other challenges, as well as the strengthening of EU’s resilience and European democracy.
The Council started preparations for the European Council meeting on 20-21 October that will discuss Ukraine, the energy situation and economic issues, as well as external relations. Metelko-Zgombić underlined the importance of EU unity as well as close cooperation with transatlantic and other key partners in terms of a comprehensive approach to Ukraine, including sanctions against Russia. Leaders should also take stock of the broader geopolitical context, notably the implications for the Western Balkans, and discuss the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina in light of the upcoming elections, the state secretary said. At the same time, it is important to step up the activities aimed at protecting the citizens from high energy prices and inflation, that will piggyback on the national measures that have already been undertaken. In light of that, Metelko-Zgombić pushed for a speedy EU-level political agreement on capping energy prices and putting into place additional measures for price and supply stability. She also underscored the need for reforming the European energy market and detaching electricity from gas prices, as well as setting up a European gas procurement platform.
The Commission presented to the Council the 2022 Strategic Foresight Report and its letter of intent with regard to the preparation of the Commission’s work programme. Croatia welcomed the Commission’s priorities in the context of Russia’s aggression as well as EU’s long-term goals, stressing the importance of European unity and solidarity. Apart from focusing on alleviating the energy crisis, strengthening resilience and security, and bolstering European democracy, Croatia emphasized the importance of maintaining a credible enlargement policy based on individual merit and supporting all six Western Balkan countries, as well as the European future of Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia.
Ministers also exchanged views on the follow-up to the Conference on the Future of Europe.
In the framework of the annual rule of law dialogue, ministers held a horizontal discussion focusing on the main trends in the area of the rule of law in the EU. Metelko-Zgombić supported the work of the Commission as well as the EU’s focus on the rule of law.
In addition, ministers assessed the state of play of EU-UK relations, focusing on the implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement, in particular the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland.