Prague, 15 July 2022
An informal meeting of Ministers for European Affairs, chaired by Minister Mikuláš Bek, took place in Prague on 14 and 15 July 2022. The meeting was also attended by Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Olha Stefanishyna and Commission Vice-Presidents Věra Jourová, Dubravka Šuica and Maroš Šefčovič.
At the beginning of the meeting, the Minister for European Affairs Mikuláš Bek, in the presence of the Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Olha Stefanishyna, presented the priorities of the Czech EU Presidency, which are: 1) Managing the refugee crisis and post-war reconstruction in Ukraine; 2) Energy security; 3) Strengthening European defence capabilities and cyber security; 4) Strategic resilience of the European economy; and 5) Resilience of democratic institutions.
The formulation of our priorities was, of course, largely influenced by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. I am therefore very pleased that Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Stefanishyna has joined the debate with colleagues from other Member States on our plans for the coming month
Mikuláš Bek, Minister of European Affairs
Ministers exchanged views on a number of proposals, including the reform of the European Parliament elections and the revision of the regulation on transparency of political advertising and the regulation on the funding of European political parties and foundations. In the context of the forthcoming European Media Freedom Act, which the Commission plans to issue during the Czech Presidency, the protection of journalists and the independent media environment was also a topic of debate. “It is no secret that independent media are under pressure also in some EU countries, and in several Member States there have even been murders of journalists in recent years. That is why I consider this topic highly important,” said Mikuláš Bek.
During the working lunch, the Ministers discussed the implementation of the conclusions of the recently concluded Conference on the Future of Europe. The Conference concluded its work with the publication of a final report containing 49 proposals and more than 300 actions to implement these proposals. At the first meeting during the Czech Presidency, the Ministers discussed mainly the cross-cutting proposals and measures resulting from the Conference. The Czech Presidency plans to continue this debate at the formal General Affairs Council meetings in the autumn.
“The conference clearly showed that citizens across Member States are interested in the future of the EU. It is now up to us – the Member States and the European institutions – to examine the proposals properly and try to implement them,” the Czech Minister concluded.
Source – Czech EU Presidency