The French Presidency of the Council of the European Union.
For the first time in 14 years, beginning on the 1st of January 2022, France takes up the Presidency of the Council of the European Union. Each EU Member State holds the presidency of the Council of the European Union for six months on a rotational basis. The primary functions of the President of the Council include organizing meetings, mediating compromises, submitting conclusions, and ensuring the coherence and consistency of the decision-making process. The President of the Council ensures that there is effective cooperation between all member States and serves as an intermediary between the Council and other European institutions, particularly the Commission and the European Parliament. France will hold the Presidency of the Council of the EU from the 1st of January to the 30th of June 2022.
What is the Council of the European Union?
The European Union consists of seven institutions and, the Council of the European Union is the principal decision-making body. Along with the European Parliament, the Council negotiates and adopts EU laws based on proposals and recommendations from the European Commission. Following guidelines from the European Council, the Council of the European Union develops and coordinates EU policies particularly, foreign and security policies. It can be confusing, but the Council of the European Union is different from the European Council.
What does France hope to achieve during its tenure?
For France, the presidency means that this is an opportunity for President Macron’s government to foster genuine European sovereignty-an inclusive, sovereign, and democratic alliance where Europe would be able to defend its values and interests.
The presidency comes at a time where Presidential elections are looming in France. The French Presidency of the Council of the European Union could be a double-edged sword for President Emmanuel Macron’s campaign- should he decide to run. He could do very well on an EU-centric platform however, with growing tensions in the opposition parties, especially following the recent debacle of the EU flag under the Arc de Triomphe, opposition parties from both the far-right and far-left could probably focus their debates and campaign on domestic issues like national security and immigration, which could be damaging to him. Nevertheless, there are citizens (although less vocal), who would choose to see the bigger picture and hope that France strives towards a more United Europe. President Emmanuel Macron has not yet officially entered the presidential race although, it is expected that he will run for a second term in April.