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Meeting of the EU General Affairs Council


Meeting of the EU General Affairs Council

Photo: European Union

The EU General Affairs Council will convene an informal virtual meeting today.

Discussions will focus on post-Brexit EU-UK relations, rule of law dialogue concerning five member states, and COVID-19 coordination, but expect special emphasis to be placed on preparations for the Conference on the Future of Europe.

The conference, initially proposed for May 9, will likely be postponed as COVID-19 cases rise across Europe. The conference seeks to demystify EU politics by convening six ‘citizens’ assemblies’ comprising citizens from across Europe to debate political issues and present their recommendations to the European Parliament. Recent EU discussion has focused on sustainability and its economic effects as a key issue in the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Thus, dialogue concerning renewable energy implementation and green economic development—including low-emission shipping—are likely to take center-stage in the debates conducted by these assemblies.

Some have expressed doubts about the conference, believing that asking the public for its input on EU policy is a waste of time and that the invited figures will not accurately represent public opinion or be able to enact any functional policy changes. However, the conference is overwhelmingly popular in the parliament and these complaints are unlikely to impede preparations.

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