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Romania's Minister-delegate for European Affairs George Ciamba chaired a new meeting of the General Affairs Council (GAC) in Luxembourg on Tuesday under the Romanian presidency of the EU Council that dealt with the Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027, the adoption of the Council Conclusions on the Agenda 2030 on Sustainable Development, reviewing the status of work within the procedures under way as per Article 7 (1) on the rule of law in Poland and respect for EU values in Hungary, as well as a debate on the future European elections.

"The incoming European elections will have a significant impact on the future institutional architecture of the EU and implicitly on how we will define European policies in the years to come. Therefore, the Romanian Presidency of the EU Council considers that a better understanding of the challenges is needed in the context of the European elections, while taking appropriate steps to reduce the risks associated with misinformation campaigns and attempts to mishandle the electorate," Ciamba is quoted as saying in a press statement released by Romania's Foreign Ministry (MAE).

The thematic debate on the Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027 covered the cohesion policy and the common agricultural policy, two of the pillars of the future EU budget. The exchange of views on this issue was a consistent one in an attempt to find ways in which the future European budget can continue to finance the two policies so as to enable greater convergence across the European Union and, at the same time, the modernisation of these policies; providing an adequate response to new challenges. The Romanian presidency of the EU Council presented the latest progress with negotiations over sectoral proposals for the future multi-annual budget of the European Union.

"Under the Romanian EU Council Presidency, we have worked intensively on many MFF-related sectoral programmes. Today we presented the results of the work so far. The Council and the European Parliament now share a common understanding on ten future EU programmes. This groundwork should help us to prepare and implement the various programmes in a timely fashion," said Ciamba, according to MAE.

The Romanian presidency has reached consensus to advance sectoral programmes such as: the European Defence Fund, the Fiscalis Programme, the InvestEU Programme, the Digital Europe 2021-2027 Programme, the Connecting Europe Facility, the Space Programme, the Justice Programme, the Rights and Values Programme, the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund, and the LIFE Programme.

The ministers for European affairs adopted conclusions on sustainable development as a response to the Reflection Paper "Towards a Sustainable Europe by 2030" published by the European Commission in January 2019. They also discussed the state of play regarding EU values in Hungary and the rule of law in Poland under Article 7(1) TEU.

The agenda also included an exchange of views on the European elections, in continuation of previous debates on the subject and the European Council conclusions adopted at a GAC meeting on February 19. The discussions focused on the state of preparation of each EU member state for the European Parliament elections, including topics that are being debated in this context.

The council adopted without debate legislation with an impact on the proper functioning of the internal market and industry, agriculture, transport, employment, economic and social policy. One example is a directive on unfair trading practices in the agricultural and food supply chain. The adopted piece of legislation aims to prevent the weaker bargaining position of small and medium-sized farmers from being exploited by larger operators, such as major processors and retailers.

On the side-lines of the GAC meeting, Ciamba signed, as the representative of the EU Council Presidency, pieces of legislation acts adopted at EU level. AGERPRES (RO - author: Oana Ghita, editor: Florin Marin; EN - author: Corneliu-Aurelian Colceriu, editor: Adina Panaitescu)

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