General Affairs and External Relations Council (GAERC)

  • Date: 23.2.2009 — 24.2.2009
  • Venue: Brussels
  • Category: Council of Ministers
  • Theme: General Affairs and External Relations

GAERC President and Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg will chair a meeting of the EU External Relations Council in Brussels on Monday 23 February.

Among other issues, the meeting will address the Middle-East peace process, Afghanistan, the Western Balkans and the Eastern Partnership. A press conference is scheduled for 15:30 in the press hall of the EU Council building.

Deputy Prime Minister for EU Affairs Alexandr Vondra chaired press conference after General Affairs Council in Brussels

Mr Vondra summed up the outcome of the meeting by saying that the Czech Presidency presented an outline of the agenda for the March European Council.

The intention is to have a debate on the economic and financial situation, energy and climate change and on external relations.

As to the Recovery Plan, the Council assessed the revised list of projects proposed by the European Commission and discussed financing possibilities. In the Presidency´s view reaching an agreement on the 5 bn package this spring is crucial.

The Council also briefly touched upon the agenda for the informal summit held in Brussels next Sunday. “We think that the informal meeting will be an excellent opportunity for the leaders to exchange ideas and experience on how best to face the unprecedented crisis,” said Mr Vondra. “The Presidency wants to ensure we voice a commitment to act together in a coordinated and cooperative manner and show the will for a common response to the crisis,” he added.

The following issues are on the agenda of the extraordinary summit:

  •  the functioning of the financial sector, including the restoration of credit flows
  •  coordination of the implementation of the European Economic Recovery Plan on national level and the means required to support our industries
  •  employment issues, more concretely how to prevent and limit job losses
  •  preparations for the G20 summit.

An EU-Albania Troika meeting will be held the next day, on 24 February. Albania will be represented by Foreign Minister Lulzim Basha. A press conference will take place at 13:15 in the press hall of the EU Council building.


  • Zuzana Opletalová, Spokeswoman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Tel.: +420 224 182 052; GSM: +420 724 034 154;
  • Jan Slíva, spokesman COREPER II, Perm. Rep. of the Czech Republic to the EU, +32475734263,  
  • Michaela Jelínková, spokesperson for the Deputy Czech PM for EU affairs tel.: +420 224 002 796, GSM: +420 724 258 939;

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