The ongoing negotiations on the EU-UK trade agreement were discussed at the European Union’s General Affairs Council in Luxembourg. The European Commission expressed its commitment to continue working for a deal, however, this transitioning period, which will end this year, has so far not led to an agreement. Therefore, both scenarios were discussed in case of a deal or a no-deal. Whilst hoping for a timely agreement, Parliamentary Secretary for European Funds Stefan Zrinzo Azzopardi stressed the need for a comprehensive contingency plan that provides for all scenarios.
The Council also discussed the Annual Report on the Rule of Law, with Parliamentary Secretary Stefan Zrinzo Azzopardi expressing Malta’s support for the rule of law mechanism. In this context, he underlined the several historic institutional reforms undertaken by the Maltese government to strengthen the rule of law in our country, including changes in the method of appointing the President of the Republic, the Attorney General and the Commissioner of Police. He praised the constructive dialogue between the European Commission and member states as part of this process. This was the first report, and the dialogue is expected to continue.
The Council also dealt with the latest developments in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic, with the German Presidency expected to continue working on coordination measures between member states.
The General Affairs Council has also addressed the latest preparations for the European Council, which will take place later this week and which is expected to discuss climate change, coordination in the fight against COVID- 19, negotiations on the trade agreement between the European Union and the United Kingdom and relations with African countries.