EU Council to discuss the December European Council, launch of the citizens’ initiative and enlargement
Press Release 364/2010
10 December 2010
The EU General Affairs Council (GAC) will meet in Brussels on Tuesday 14 December to prepare the European Council meeting that will take place on 16-17 December. The ministers are expected to finalise decisions on the practical procedures for the European citizens’ initiative and to adopt the annual enlargement package. Minister of Migration and European Affairs Astrid Thors and Minister for Foreign Affairs Alexander Stubb will represent Finland at the meeting. Mr Stubb will handle questions relating to enlargement.
The main theme of the December European Council will be the European stability mechanism and the required Treaty change which President Herman Van Rompuy has prepared in consultation with Member States. The European Council is to make a decision on the opening of the Treaty amendment process. The crisis mechanism will clarify Member States’ fiscal responsibility and the role of private sector burden sharing in face of possible financial market crisis. The Heads of State or Government will also discuss the EU’s multiannual financial framework.
The General Affairs Council is expected to decide on the procedures relating to the launch of the citizens’ initiative which is included in the Lisbon Treaty. Through the citizens’ initiative, citizens numbering at least one million and coming from at least one fourth of all Member States may directly approach the Commission with a request inviting it to submit a proposal for a legal act regarding a policy area within the framework of the EU’s powers. The organisers of a citizens’ initiative must be citizens of the Union entitled to vote in the European Parliament elections. The organisers are natural persons forming a citizens’ committee. The aim is to maintain the procedure and conditions as clear and citizen-friendly as possible. For example, the admissibility of a proposed initiative is assessed in connection with its registration. The Member States are committed to incorporating citizens’ initiatives into their national legislation within a year of their adoption.
The Council is to adopt conclusions on the enlargement package published by the Commission in November. The package includes a strategy document explaining the general framework of EU enlargement negotiations, the Commission’s opinions on the membership applications of Albania and Montenegro, and country-specific progress reports on Turkey, Croatia, Iceland, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo. Finland supports the conclusions of the Commission’s enlargement package. Aspirant countries should achieve the possibility to join the EU on the basis of agreed principles and conditions.
Inquiries: Anna Bruun, Adviser to the Minister of European Affairs, Government Secretariat for EU Affairs, tel. +358 40 172 2239 and Päivi Pohjanheimo, Adviser to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, tel. +358 9 1605 5332 or +358 40 511 3786