France’s EU Council Presidency
• France assumed the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU) on 1 January 2022 after 14 years.
• The Council is the legislative arm of the EU which is entrusted with the role to approve, reject or amend its policy matters.
• It comprises the executives of the 27 member nations of the EU, headed by the president.
• Each meeting deals with a specific policy matter and is attended only by those ministers in charge of that policy matter in their respective nations.
• Europe’s executives have a range of issues to deal with, starting from climate change, energy crisis, the pandemic and European security issues concerning Ukraine, Poland and Baltics.
• This is the rationale behind the presidency’s agenda, which has been rightfully flagged by Macron at different intervals.
• Making EU more sovereign, developing a European model of growth, furthering the green agenda, promoting EU as a stabilising power in the Indo-Pacific, deepening ties with the African Union and reorganising the Schengen area are a few targets that Paris wishes to achieve during the presidential tenure.
• The challenges faced by Europe are not new but France’s perch at the helm of the Council have raised Europe’s expectations that several of its woes are going to be heard and addressed.
• To strengthen sovereignty, the EU Strategic Compass would be adopted by March 2022.
• It offers policy considerations to strengthen defence and security measures of the EU in the areas of capability development, resilience and crisis management.
• On the economic front, Paris has envisioned a European model for growth which should align economic development with the climate goals in order to be sustainable.
• It wants to enforce the European Green Deal, as announced by the President last December. Macron aims to achieve a 55 per cent reduction in emissions by 2030 and initiate regulations supporting deforestation-free products.
• One of the possible solutions is to impose a carbon tax on imported products and switch to cleaner energy sources within the EU.
Source The Hindu