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Ministers for European Affairs prepare European Council and discuss post-Brexit relations with the United Kingdom for the first time

23 Feb · 17h00

Ana Paula Zacarias, Secretary of State for European Affairs © Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union 2021 / Pedro Sá da Bandeira

Today, the Ministers for European Affairs moved forward with a number of dossiers on the European agenda during their informal meeting, which included discussing and exchanging views on the future of European democracy, relations with the United Kingdom and the Conference on the Future of Europe.

 

The meeting was chaired from Lisbon by the Portuguese Secretary of State for European Affairs, Ana Paula Zacarias, and one of the most important items on the agenda was the preparation for the video conference of the members of the European Council, which is to be held on 25 and 26 February 2021.

 

The Ministers for European Affairs reviewed the agenda for the video conference of the EU Heads of State and Government at the end of this week, which will be focusing on an analysis of the current situation and the responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, including future challenges in the health area. Also on the agenda is a discussion on Security and Defence, including subjects like cyberattacks and hybrid threats, as well as a debate with the Secretary General of NATO. Finally, the leaders will have a strategic discussion on relations between the EU and its Southern neighbourhood.

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Ana Paula Zacarias, Secretary of State for European Affairs, chaired the informal videoconference of European Affairs Ministers © Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union 2021 / Pedro Sá da Bandeira

The meeting continued with the first debate on the European Democracy Action Plan, presented by the European Commission last December. All Members States have already agreed to move forward with its implementation immediately.

 

As the representative of the Presidency of the Council of the EU, Ana Paula Zacarias then summed up the position on the Conference on the Future of Europe and called for preparations to be completed in order to allow the conference to go ahead.

 

Finally, she reported on relations between the EU and the United Kingdom, as this was the first discussion since the Trade and Cooperation Agreement was reached.