The EU: General affairs
Issues concerning the EU’s institutional structure and horizontal EU issues such as the Europe 2020 strategy, the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region, work to strengthen the rule of law in the EU, EU enlargement and the multi-annual financial framework are dealt with by the General Affairs Council.
The European Commission’s country-specific recommendations
In May, the European Commission presented its country-specific recommendations for the EU Member States and recommendations for the eurozone. The recommendations are one aspect of the Commission’s annual assessment of the Member States’ economic and employment policy, and are part of the system of economic policy coordination in the EU.
The Commission bases its recommendations on analysis of Member States’ reports under the Europe 2020 strategy (national reform programmes) and the annual reports submitted under the Stability and Growth Pact (stability or convergence programmes).
The Swedish Government sees these recommendations as an instrument to encourage responsible economic policy and attainment of the targets set at EU level. Ultimately, it is the parliaments of the Member States that decide what form national economic policy takes.
Enlargement is one of the greatest successes of EU cooperation. It has helped ensure Europe’s security, economic development and stability. Sweden firmly believes that the principles of enlargement should be upheld and EU commitments honoured.
Important successes have included the entry into force of a stabilisation and association agreement (SA agreement) with Bosnia and Herzegovina, the signing of an SA agreement with Kosovo, continued progress in the dialogue on normalisation between Kosovo and Serbia, and continued dynamics in the development of regional cooperation in the Western Balkans.
This progress confirms the continued attraction of the enlargement process and its key role in ensuring peace, democracy and the rule of law in the EU’s neighbourhood.
The rule of law
The work to promote respect for the rule of law in the EU will be a priority, partly due to the Commission having begun applying the framework to prevent threats to the rule of law, partly through the dialogue in the Council aiming to strengthening the common understanding of compliance with the rule of law.