Ministers began with an exchange of views on the upcoming meeting of the European Council on 10 and 11 December, when EU leaders will gather in Brussels to discuss topics such as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, including the coordination of restrictions and vaccinations, the EU climate targets for 2030 and internal security and external relations.

EU-UK relations then took centre stage. After having formally left the European Union in February 2020, the UK is now reaching the end of the transition period and will leave the customs union and the single market on 31 December, 2020. Ministers discussed the state of play in the negotiations on the future relationship between the EU and the UK.

The German Council Presidency also briefed ministers on EU legislative priorities for 2021 and policy objectives and priorities for the period from 2020 to 2024, which are agreed between the Council, the European Commission and the European Parliament.

Lastly, the EU Commission informed ministers about its recent European Democracy Action Plan, which aims to strengthen European democracies through measures to promote free and fair elections, support media freedom and pluralism, and counter disinformation.