France took over the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union on January 1, 2022. Thirteen years after its last presidency, Paris is once again in office for six months.

What is the Council of the European Union?

The Council of the European Union, also known as the “Council of Ministers of the European Union” or “Council”, brings together the ministers of the Member States of the European Union by area of ​​activity. It is, together with the European Parliament, the co-legislator of the European Union. In the ordinary legislative procedure, the two institutions amend the proposals made by the European Commission. On behalf of the 27 Member States, France therefore chairs one of the seven EU institutions and one of the four main ones, constituting the institutional square.

What does the Presidency of the Council of the European Union entail?

The presidency of the Council of the European Union has taken on capital importance in an enlarged Union which makes it increasingly difficult to seek compromises, the major role of a presidency. From January 1 to June 30, 2022, France must carry out several missions, some of which are very supervised. It follows the European legislative agenda and works out compromises likely to resolve political problems between the governments of the 27 Member States or between them and the European Parliament.

She is also responsible for organizing and chairing the meetings of the Council of the EU, by area of ​​activity. Each French minister performs this function within the working group of which he is a member. For example, the French Minister of Agriculture chairs the Agriculture Council. As an exception, however, the Foreign Affairs Council (see above) is chaired for 5 years by the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

What is the framework of the French Presidency of the Council of the European Union (PFUE)?

The PFUE is in line with the guidelines set by the President of the Republic in his speech for a sovereign, united and democratic Europe delivered on September 26, 2017 at La Sorbonne. For four years, the President of the Republic and the Government have been working to build real European sovereignty, that is to say Europe’s ability to exist in today’s world to defend our values ​​and our interests. The French presidency of the Council of the European Union will continue this work for a more united, more sovereign and more democratic Europe.

The PFUE meets the expectations of citizens, who expressed them during citizen debates organized in September within the 18 French regions as part of the Conference on the Future of Europe. This project, proposed by France in 2019, has opened up a new space for debate with European citizens. The final contribution of these citizen panels was submitted to the Government in the autumn.

The recommendations made by citizens, in France and in Europe, feed the priorities of the French Presidency of the Council of the European Union. The PFUE is articulated with the program of the “trio” of presidencies, in which France inscribes its action. This system, which has been in place since 2009, makes it possible to set long-term objectives and define the major themes that will be dealt with over a period of 18 months. After the Slovenian presidency, France will begin a new cycle and will work in a trio with the Czech Republic in the second half of 2022 and Sweden in the first half of 2023.

Source: Ministry of Agriculture and Food – https://agriculture.gouv.fr/la-presidence-francaise-du-conseil-de-lunion-europeenne