General Affairs Council, 17/10/2017

Council of the EU

Main results

October European Council

 The Council finalised the preparations for the upcoming European Council with a discussion on draft conclusions. At their meeting on 19 October EU leaders will focus on migration, Digital Europe, defence and external relations. The topics to be discussed include measures to stem illegal flows of migration and progress on the reform of the Common European Asylum System; the best ways to seize the opportunities and address the challenges presented by the digital revolution; the planned permanent structured cooperation on defence (PESCO); and specific foreign policy issues, including relations with Turkey.

Rule of law in the digital age  

The Council held its third annual rule of law dialogue, centred on media pluralism and the rule of law in the digital age. With the participation of the Director of the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights, Michael O'Flaherty, ministers discussed challenges to the rule of law and fundamental rights in the new media environment, the best ways to support high-quality journalism and the need to ensure that EU citizens of all ages have adequate media literacy skills. 

"Fake news has always been around, but what is new is that nowadays anyone can spread information - or disinformation - to a practically unlimited audience in a fraction of a second," said Matti Maasikas, Estonia's Deputy Minister for European Affairs and chair of today's Council meeting. "It is therefore essential for people to be aware of these risks and be able to assess if it's fake news or real news and what is a troll and what is not." 

The presidency will draw up conclusions on the debate, which will be sent to the relevant Council bodies for further consideration.

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