French president Emmanuel Macron held a press on conference on December 9th to unveil France’s programme for the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union, which will start on January 1st, 2022. The President exposed France’s 3 axes for the presidency, encapsulated in the motto “Relance, Puissance, Appartenance” (“Recovery, power, belonging” in English). Calling for a more sovereign Europe, a new European model, and a more humane Europe, Emmanuel Macron detailed measures to reform the Schengen area, foster European defense, act on employment, budgetary as well as digital policies.
Mentioning the current health and climate crisis context in which the 6-month presidency would take place, Macron recalled the EU’s objectives of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and reaching carbon neutrality by 2050. He notably called for a « new European growth model » which would live up to its climate ambition. To meet the EU’s climate objectives, the French presidency will notably aim to introduce mirror clauses in free trade agreements, and to act against “imported deforestation” by banning the import of foreign products resulting in deforestation (e.g. soy, meat products, etc). Although not detailed, the President also reaffirmed France’s will to adopt measures to phase-out of pesticides, and ensure that EU agriculture remains a sector of excellence across the world.
Measures were lastly announced in the field of education, with the aim of creating more European universities and developing a six-month European civic service for people under 25 years old – building on the success and achievements of the Erasmus programme.