17 January 2022

Marion Banide

The priorities set by France as part of the French Presidency of the Council of the European Union

France holds the Presidency of the Council of the European Union with a programme based on three ambitions: A more sovereign Europe, a new European growth model and a more digital Europe. Next to these three ambitions, Macron has also expressed a strong desire to reaffirm the common foundation of European citizenship.

A more Sovereign Europe

For six months, France will support a reform of the Schengen area, with the creation of an intergovernmental emergency support mechanism for when a State faces a crisis at its borders, and push for a better immigration management in Europe.

The French head of state also announced that he wanted to achieve an effective common defence policy. Emmanuel Macron stressed that European needs to move forward on the strategic compass, by developing “a European white paper on defence and security that will present the state of threats and set common objectives and guidelines”.

A new European growth model

Emmanuel Macron hopes to reflect on the lessons learned of the pandemic at the European level and to pursue the digital and climate transitions. Concerning the idea of a “green Europe”, the FPCEU should enable progress to be made on the key texts that set the objectives of carbon neutrality for 2050 and a 55% reduction in greenhouse gases by 2030. The implementation of a carbon adjustment mechanism at the borders is one of the issues dear to France to drive this transition in certain strategic and energy-intensive sectors while preserving their competitiveness. “It is a question of making progress on the coherence of our trade and climate policies,” said the President of the Republic.

Finally, the FPEU will be an opportunity for France to convince its partners to adopt a European instrument to tackle imported deforestation. The President also confirmed that the directive on the European minimum wage and wage transparency between men and women would be a priority.

A more digital Europe

Finally, France also wants a more digital Europe. For the past four years, France has been pursuing an effective strategy to create digital champions with major fund-raising and incentives for the creation of start-ups. One of the challenges of the FPCEU will be to Europeanise this policy by mobilising European budget. In addition, there will be a question of developing a European system of taxation of multinationals, adopted at the G20 summit at the end of October 2021.

With the Parliament, and the revision of two pioneering texts on content regulation and the responsibility of online platforms (DSA and DMA), France will “ensure that the digital giants do not become monopolies without rules and weaken the spirit of innovation”, says the Elysée. A liability regime for large digital platforms will be defined and established.

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17 January 2022

Marion Banide

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