Council prepares February summit
Preparations for the European Council and the Irish presidency's work programme were on the agenda of the General Affairs Council's meeting on 4 February.
Birgitta Ohlsson, Swedish Minister for European Affairs;
Eamon Gilmore, Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade;
Karel Schwarzenberg, Czech Minister for Foreign Affairs
© European Union 2013
The Council examined draft conclusions for the European Council meeting to be held on 7-8 February, discussing elements relating to trade and external relations.
The main aim for EU leaders will be to agree on the EU's multiannual financial framework (MFF) for the 2014-2020 period. They will also discuss trade and external relations (Arab Spring and Mali).
The Irish presidency presented its work programme for its term of office (January to July 2013) and ministers held a brief exchange of views.
The programme focuses on the following priorities:
- Securing stability: focusing on banking union, the European Semester process and the next phase of economic and monetary union reforms.
- Investing in sustainable growth and jobs: among the main tasks are a single market of the future, including a digital single market, youth unemployment and smart and sustainable growth.
- Europe and the world: contributing to the pursuit of peace, democracy and prosperity and prioritising bilateral trade agreements with key partners, including the United States.