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President of France Emmanuel Macron gives a press conference on the upcoming EU Presidency on 9 December, Source: Ghislain Mariette, Présidence de la République

France takes on the EU Presidency

France takes on the EU Presidency

Here is an overview of the country’s priorities for the next 6 months

On 1 January France assumes the rotating Presidency of the Council of the European Union (also, the Council of Ministers or simply The Council) for a period of six months. The programme includes over 400 events across the country and the EU, with a political, cultural and citizen dimension. In this context, in early December, French President Emmanuel Macron outlined the key priorities for the period between 1 January and 30 June 2022, that his country will put forward.

Programme and priorities of the Presidency

Tomorrow, France assumes the EU Presidency for the 13th time since 1959. The country holding the EU Presidency has to organise and chair meetings, ensure compromises, deliver conclusions and ensure the consistency and continuity of the decision-making process. Moreover, it ensures good cooperation between all Member States.

As per the established EU practise to ensure continuity in policy, the Presidency is organised in trios – periods of 1.5 years, in which three countries work together on a common programme.

France will thus be the first of the trio, followed by Czechia in the second half of 2022 and Sweden from 1 January 2023 to 30 June 2023, accordingly. As approved by the General Affairs Council and outlined on the official website of FRANCE22, the priorities for the next 18 months are as follows:

  • The protection of citizens and freedoms, with an emphasis on respect and protection of European values ​​- democracy, rule of law, equality between women and men, etc. - and on strengthening the Schengen area and the common asylum and migration policy;
  • The promotion of a new model of European growth and investment, based on green and sustainable growth and on the strengthening of European industrial and digital sovereignty;
  • The construction of a greener Europe, more socially fair, and more protective of the health of Europeans;
  • A global Europe, a global player that promotes multilateralism and renewed relationships with its partners, while sharing a 27-member vision of strategic threats.

The program also reiterates the European Union's commitment to the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic and its economic and social consequences.

Recovery, Strength and a Sense of Belonging

Naturally, for the next 6 months, France has its own agenda and priorities, in line with the broader framework of the trio. Said agenda has been in the making since 2017, when the President of France gave a speech at the Sorbonne, speaking of a sovereign Europe, capable of defending its values and interests.

Now, the focus will be on three areas: climate, social, digital. It follows then that France will seek:

  • the economic regulation and accountability of platforms, especially with regard to hate speech, with legislation on digital services and markets (DSA and DMA);
  • the establishment of carbon pricing at the EU borders for imported products;
  • establish European legislation on minimum wages.

In addition, France will pursue a new investment model for the EU and the Eurozone, stronger instruments to promote democracy, the expansion of the Erasmus+ programme, enlightening the EU debate with a Europe Academy, as well as the establishment of a genuine joint research agency.

Finally, the Presidency will unfold under the motto Recovery, Strength and a Sense of Belonging. The notions refer to the idea of strengthening the economy to enable Europe to support the ecological and digital transitions; defending and promoting its own values and interests, and building a shared vision through culture, our shared values and common history.

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