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1. The EU remains committed to preserving and strengthening the rules-based multilateral trading system with the WTO at its core. To this end, the EU made a strong effort in the run-up to the Conference to help advance on key issues with the objective of allowing the WTO to develop further and play the part it should in global trade in the 21st century. The Council regrets that it was not possible to achieve an ambitious but realistic and balanced package for the 11th WTO Ministerial Conference.
2. Given the challenges that the WTO is currently facing, the Council welcomes the support for multilateralism and the central role of the WTO expressed in the Buenos Aires Declaration made at the opening ceremony of the 11th WTO Ministerial Conference, as well as in the Joint Ministerial Statement by 44 developing and developed WTO members on 11 December 2017. The EU will continue to explore ways to strengthen the WTO, including its negotiating, monitoring and deliberative functions, as well as the effective operation of the dispute settlement mechanism. In this regard, the Council considers that all vacancies on the Appellate Body should be filled without delay.