- Published: 18.11.2022.
State Secretary Metelko-Zgombić attends GAC
Ministers started preparations for the European Council meeting of 15 and 16 December 2022, when EU leaders will address Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, energy and economy, security and defence, the Southern Neighbourhood and other foreign policy issues. Croatia remains committed to continued support to Ukraine, which includes the European Peace Facility, Metelko-Zgombić underscored. Concerning energy issues, Croatia believes that the focus should be placed on meeting the agreements reached at the European Council meeting in October, and expects the proposal for a gas price cap mechanism to be presented soon. In the context of security and defence, the state secretary stressed the importance of implementing the Strategic Compass in an inclusive way and with an understanding of the common challenges we face.
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.
The Commission presented its 2023 work programme to the Council. Metelko-Zgombić welcomed the planned course, emphasizing the importance of further support to Ukraine in all aspects. Croatia deems that the priority task should be alleviating the consequences of the energy and the related economic crisis as well as offering support to citizens and the economy. In the context of energy, the focus should be on stabilizing and reducing the prices, supply security, and source diversification. That is why the EU should work to achieve energy independence through RePowerEU. Croatia wants to contribute to that plan by expanding the capacities of the Krk LNG terminal and utilizing the full capacity of the JANAF oil pipeline. Metelko-Zgombić underscored the importance of EU’s stronger engagement in the Western Balkans, so that those countries could accede to the Union quicker and the region’s stability could be bolstered, provided the criteria and values are met.
As part of the Article 7(1) TEU procedure regarding Hungary, the Council held a hearing. The hearing covered all the issues raised by the European Parliament in its reasoned proposal from September 2018, which triggered this procedure.