On 1 January, France took over the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union for the upcoming 6 months. The priorities of the French Presidency, presented earlier this week, will be heavily influenced by the busy European legislative agenda. The French Government has set three overarching ambitions: a more sovereign Europe, a new European model for growth and a humane Europe.
Under a new model for growth, the French Presidency intends to focus notably on putting the economic recovery and finance to work for the climate and digital transition, as well as building a “responsible capitalism”.
The French Presidency’s digital agenda will be particularly full, with the ambition to support innovation in the EU and set its own rules for the digital world. It has already announced its intention to go as far as possible in the discussion on the DSA and the DMA. France also announced its intention to continue working on the General Product Safety Directive, the European Digital Identity, Cybersecurity, the Data Act, Artificial Intelligence as well as ePrivacy.
The French Presidency has also announced its intention to make the maximum progress on regulating digital finance, continuing the work on the Regulation on Markets in Crypto-Assets and on anti-money laundering, for example. France will also continue the work on updating rules for consumer credits in the EU.
Regarding the sustainable transition, the French Presidency has highlighted the work that remains on the Fit for 55 package, specifically focusing on the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism. The Presidency will also prioritise the work on sustainable finance (Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive) but also greening consumer law. On circular economy, France expects to continue negotiations on the Batteries Regulation, and kickstart discussion on the Sustainable Product Initiative.
In its programme, France also touches on its priorities for fairer, effective taxation. It will take forward work on the proposal presented by the Commission in December 2021, writing into European law the agreement on Pillar Two reached with the OECD. It will also focus on the first appraisal of e-commerce VAT rules to define the next steps with the European Commission.
With the French election taking place in April 2022, the French Presidency could be affected by the campaign and results, considering the EU will be a differentiating feature and a political tool for the candidates in the running. It is however too early to tell what will the last two months of the rotating presidency look like.
Photo: © France Diplomatie – MEAE (Flickr)