On 1 January 2022, for the first time in 14 years, France will take over the Presidency of the Council of the European Union. How does the Council of the EU work and what will France’s role be?

What does the Presidency of the Council of the European Union involve?

A rotating Presidency

Each Member State holds the presidency of the Council of the European Union for six months on a rotational basis. France will hold the Presidency of the Council of the EU from 1 January to 30 June 2022. The Presidency of the Council organizes meetings, brokers compromises, submits conclusions and ensures the coherency and continuity of the decision-making process. It ensures good cooperation between all Member States and acts as a liaison between the Council and the European institutions, in particular the Commission and European Parliament.

What is the Council of the European Union?

The Council of the European Union, also called the Council of Ministers, or simply the Council, brings together the ministers of the EU Member States who meet in configurations by sector of activity. It serves as the co-legislator of the European Union, along with the European Parliament.

Concretely, ministers will chair ten sectors or configurations of the Council of the EU: general affairs; economic and financial affairs; justice and home affairs; employment, social policy, health and consumer protection policy; competitiveness (internal market, industry, research and space); transport, telecommunication and energy; education, youth, culture and sport; trade. Exceptionally, the Foreign Affairs Council is chaired by the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, currently Mr Josep Borrell.

The Council also has budgetary powers; it adopts and amends the European budget with the Parliament. Lastly, the Council adopts certain decisions as well as non-binding recommendations, concludes international agreements on behalf of the EU, and appoints members of certain institutions such as the European Court of Auditors, the European Economic and Social Committee and the European Committee of the Regions. The Council’s deliberations and votes on legislative texts are public.

What is the framework for the French Presidency of the Council of the European Union?

The PFUE follows the main policy lines that President Macron set out in his speech for a sovereign, united and democratic Europe on 26 September 2017 at the Sorbonne. For the past four years, President Macron and the Government have been working to build a genuine European sovereignty, meaning Europe’s ability to exist in the world to defend our values and interests. The French Presidency of the Council of the European Union will continue this work for a more inclusive, sovereign and democratic Europe.

The PFUE meets citizens’ expectations, which were expressed in the citizen debates held in September in 18 French regions as part of the Conference on the Future of Europe. This project, proposed by France in 2019, established a new forum for debate with European citizens. The final contribution of these national panels was submitted to the Government in the autumn. Recommendations made by citizens, in France and in Europe, have helped determine the priorities of the French Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

The PFUE coordinates within the trio presidency programme, with which France aligns its action. This system, which has existed since 2009, sets long-term goals and defines the main topics to be addressed over a period of 18 months. After the Slovenian Presidency, France will begin a new cycle and will work as a trio with the Czech Republic in the second half of 2022 and Sweden in the first half of 2023.

Nearly 400 events

A total of nearly 400 events planned in France and the EU will punctuate the Presidency: political meetings, a cultural programme and citizen events open to everyone.

Find all information about the French Presidency of the Council of the European Union on the Presidency’s official website and social media.

Also, in order to make sure the French Presidency reaches citizens, the events will be held throughout the national territory and abroad. Find out more about these different meetings organized by actors from a wide range of backgrounds.

The Council of the European Union should not be confused with:

  • The European Council, which brings together Heads of State and Government of Member States and defines the overall political direction and priorities of the European Union. Its current President is Charles Michel.
  • The Council of Europe, which is an intergovernmental organization made up of 47 Member States. Founded in 1949, the Council of Europe promotes human rights, democracy and the rule of law. Its seat is in Strasbourg and its Secretary-General is Marija Pejčinović Burić.

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