France will take on the rotating EU presidency from January 1 for the 13th time since 1959.
It comes during a key period for French President Emmanuel Macron, who is expected to run for reelection in April.
“If I had to sum up in one sentence the goal of this [EU] presidency, which will run from 1 January to 30 June, I would say that we must move from a Europe of cooperation within our borders to a powerful Europe in the world, fully sovereign, free of its choices, and master of its destiny,” Macron said, laying out France’s plans.
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.
France also reiterated the European Union’s commitment to the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic and its economic and social consequences.