As of today, France is Taking over the Rotating Presidency of the Council of the EU
France is taking over the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union today for six months, with ambitious priorities first presented on 9 December last year by President Emmanuel Macron.
Presenting these priorities, Macron noted that the moment when France will hold the presidency of the EU Council is characterized by the nearly two-year health crisis, the fight against climate change, the digital revolution, growing inequality around the world and problems with migrants, who are sometimes used by some countries to carry out hybrid attacks. The French leader pointed out that European countries will cope better with all these challenges together, in a united Europe.
Macron said that if he had to sum up the priorities of the French presidency in one sentence, he would say that this is Europe's goal of moving from cooperation within the EU to becoming a world power that is fully sovereign and that it determines its own destiny.
The French president marked three major areas that will shape the French presidency:
- Making efforts for a more sovereign Europe.
According to Macron, a sovereign Europe means, first and foremost, a Europe that is able to control its borders. Border protection is a necessary condition both for ensuring the security of Europeans and for tackling migration, which has created problems for Europe in the past, the French president said in a presentation.
As part of its efforts to create a more sovereign Europe, France will initiate the reform of the Schengen area and the establishment of an emergency response mechanism in the event of a crisis at the EU's borders.
Another element of the creation of a more sovereign Europe, according to the French president, is the common European defense policy. Macron pointed out that European countries, whether or not they are members of NATO, have common interests in this area.
The guarantee of a sovereign Europe is also linked to the stability of Europe's neighboring regions, said Macron, who paid particular attention to the EU's relations with Africa and the Western Balkans. He announced that a summit of the European Union and the African Union would be held in Brussels on 17 and 18 February, with the aim of giving a new impetus to Europe-Africa relations.
- The second major direction of the French Presidency of the Council of the EU will be the construction of a new European model of economic growth. Europe must produce, create wealth, but at the same time be social and have rules. The French leader paid special attention to the place of digitalization in the future EU economy, emphasizing that in order for Europe to be globally competitive and able to compete with the United States and China, it must ensure the existence of a single digital European market and favorable conditions for the development and stay of technology companies in Europe. Macron also said France would fight for more control of cyberspace, especially when it comes to fighting hate speech, racism and anti-Semitism.
- The third major area of the French Presidency will be in the field of culture, art and education. Macron emphasized that European culture and the arts were as important to the strength and cohesion of the EU as the economy and the struggle for greater European sovereignty, and that they should therefore be encouraged and supported. The same goes for educational programs and exchanges, such as Erasmus Plus.
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