What Will The French Presidency Of The European Union Look Like?

From January until June 2022, France takes over the presidency of the Council of the European Union. Here’s an overview of the French government’s proposals for this 6-month rotation.

Last time was in 2008. For the 13th times, France assumes the presidency of the Council of the European Union, one of the main European institutions. The Council, which represents the European countries’ governments, decides most European laws along with the European Parliament, which speaks for European citizens. It also proposes non-binding recommendations and represents the European Union when concluding international agreements. During a presidency, the rotative government organizes meetings and represents the European Council in front of the European Parliament and the Commission.

The French government will assume until June this scope of missions, during the presidential election momentum. To ensure a long-term vision of the taken decisions, a trio of nations hold the presidency for an 18-month program. France is the first country of its trio to take over the presidency of the Council of the EU. In order to coordinate their actions, the French government, which prepares this presidency since 2017, has consulted the two other countries that will follow, Czech Republic and Sweden.

 

Reaffirm European Union’s sovereignty

Following Slovenia’s presidency, France calls for recovery, power and belonging the three key words of its presidency. “These are times marked by an ongoing public health crisis, which has greatly affected us for more than two years. They are also clearly marked by the drastically changing climate, the digital revolution, growing global inequalities, migration issues exacerbated by the manipulation of certain States” stated French President Emmanuel Macron during its presentation of the French Presidency of the Council of the EU at the Elysée Palace on December 9th. This statement reflects the French government framework for this 6-month presidency. Sovereignty is at the heart of its plans: Macron wants to reform the Schengen area on migration for a better control of the European borders. France is also considering an emergency process during immigration crises. On the digital agenda, the French government hopes to conclude two regulations: The Digital Services Act (DSA) and Digital Market Act (DMA). These laws provide an increased accountability for social media platforms and what they allow, to fight against online hate speech, fake news, and illegal content. They would also impose new obligations to the digital markets’ big players such as GAFA to allow new and smaller ones to grow and thrive more easily.

 

A focus on green reforms and cultural citizenship

France also has ambitions for the environment as it proposes to create a carbon tax on imported products from outside the EU. It has also announced a carbon-free presidency. Moreover, the government wants to strengthen European citizens’ sense of belonging, which involves cultural and historical aspects. 400 green-friendly events are planned during the 6-month period, including political meetings, seminars, debates but also cultural exhibitions to reinforce this European sense of belonging through its culture. Last but not least, literature, arts and dance events throughout France will also celebrate European citizenship.

 

Bpifrance’s role in relation to the French presidency of the European Union 

Investment is at the heart of the recovery plan which is deployed throughout Europe to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic, boost the environmental and the digital transitions, in order to enhance France’s competitiveness. In this context, Caisse des Dépôts and Bpifrance have organised on February 1st, 2022 in Paris the event: "Long-term investment for a stronger Europe". The objective was to highlight the role and tools of national promotional institutions in building a more sustainable European economic model.  

This event is part of the French Presidency of the Council of the European Union and will bring together high-level European speakers. It will contribute to the debate for "a more united, more sovereign and more citizen-oriented Europe" in line with the ambitions of the French Presidency and the missions of Caisse des Dépôts, Bpifrance and their European counterparts. You can see the replay here 

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In May, Bpifrance will hold an event dedicated to Export credit agencies in Paris.  

Also watch Bpifrance series of short videos with executive Directors of the bank about specificities in Europe and common challenges of national promotional banks and institutions. Have a look here