PRESS RELEASE BY THE MINISTRY FOR EUROPEAN AFFAIRS AND EQUALITY: The EU General Affairs Council convenes to prepare for Friday’s leaders’ summit

The EU’s General Affairs Council convened in Brussels to prepare for the upcoming European Council meeting scheduled later this week. The European Council is expected to discuss primarily the Single Market, trade, social issues, and the recent Salisbury attacks in the UK.

In her opening remarks on this agenda item, Minister for European Affairs and Equality Helena Dalli expressed Malta’s solidarity with the UK over the attacks.

On taxation, Minister Helena Dalli reiterated Malta’s position in favour of long-term solutions that are tackled within the OECD framework and based on international tax agreements. She said that the taxation debate should consider the proposed US tax reforms to safeguard the EU’s competitiveness.

Referring to possible import restrictions for steel and aluminium by the United States, Minister Dalli said that unjustified protectionism is never the answer and urged the EU to strive to maintain a dialogue with the US.

Minister Dalli also spoke on the proposed establishment of a European Labour Authority and added that Malta views the cooperation between member states in this field as one way of reducing abuse. The Minister however noted that Malta stresses on the importance of involving social partners in the setting up and operation of this authority.

A separate meeting of the General Affairs Council at EU27 level was also held and discussed the final details of the Draft Guidelines for negotiations with the UK on Article 50. Once adopted by the European Council, the Draft Guidelines will set the framework for a future relationship between the EU and the UK.

The Minister welcomed the references in these guidelines to the EU’s willingness to negotiate a future relationship that incorporates areas of significant importance to Malta, such as education, mobility, financial services, and aviation.

Source: Government of Malta