France takes over EU leadership, Macron wants to take major steps ahead of the election


He wants to get as many tasks as possible in the first three months, because the French presidential election will speak to the presidency in April. Many politicians and diplomats see the French program and elections as a direct link and do not believe much that some of Macron’s resolutions will be fulfilled.

“It is clear that President Macron will want to shine and try to address as many of the burning issues facing Europe as France’s priorities in the presidential election. He will want to become a European leader, especially after Angela Merkel’s departure.” “Vendula Kazlauskas, an analyst at the Association for International Affairs, says, referring to the change at the head of the German government.

For example, the head of the Elysee Palace has promised to “reduce the abuse” of the right to asylum and move forward with a proposal for new migration and asylum rules. It was presented by the European Commission more than a year ago, but due to significantly different views of member states, any negotiations are practically blocked.

“This is one of the topics he wants to address French voters, but it will be very difficult to make tangible progress,” one of the EU diplomats told ČTK.

The EU states are similarly divided on the issue of reassessing the budget and debt rules of the European bloc, which Macron would like to release in order to support the economies affected by the pandemic crisis. He intends to open this topic at an extraordinary summit in March, where, however, he will probably encounter resistance from the Nordic and other states, which are demanding the taming of swelling public debts.

France also wants to work to strengthen EU military cooperation, which Paris envisages includes the creation of rapid reaction forces. However, the plan, which EU leaders are to discuss at the next summit, has long been questioned mainly by the countries of the eastern wing of the bloc, which do not want to duplicate the functioning of NATO.

The key role of the presidency is to find compromises among all states in negotiating new EU regulations. France wants to complete talks on standards for digital services and markets, which, among other things, tighten the conditions for large Internet companies. It also plans to unify the positions of member states on the proposal of the so-called carbon duty or on the ban on imports of products whose production is associated with deforestation.

Macron also indicated that he intends to defend the united European values ​​and the rule of law that Brussels has argued with Poland and Hungary. However, he does not want to push for forceful solutions, but to continue negotiations, which have not yet led the countries to make significant concessions. The French presidency cannot therefore be expected to make a major breakthrough, as Macron “no doubt does not want the dispute to escalate into an EU constitutional crisis that spilled over into the French presidential election,” wrote Politico Mujtaba Rahman, a commentator on the Brussels website.

The Czechia is waiting for the last six months of preparations for the presidency, and is coordinating the plan with France

France will take over the presidency of the European Union on Saturday, which it will hand over to the Czech Republic in the middle of the year, just like 13 years ago. Although both countries have coordinated their priorities in advance and their governments have only a limited opportunity to influence the future of the bloc from a leading position, it may not be easy for the Czechia to follow Paris. However, according to experts on the functioning of the EU, this will not be due to different program priorities, but rather due to France’s important position in the 27 and the emphasis it places on the presidency.

At the head of the union, France wants to strengthen the common defense or relax the EU’s budgetary and debt rules. On the other hand, she does not like international free trade agreements and is skeptical about the Union’s enlargement plans. The views of the governments in Paris and Prague are different on all these issues. Nevertheless, each country cannot be expected to lead the union in a different direction.

France, together with the Czech Republic and another country in the order of rotating presidencies by Sweden, negotiated this year a joint program of the presidency trio, which will not allow any country to significantly deviate from the line acceptable to all. “The joint plan is clear, it has already been published, and it will lead to close, de facto day-to-day cooperation not only with colleagues from the Brussels delegations, but also directly with national teams in individual departments,” said Czech Ambassador to the EU Edita Hrdá.

According to her, each of the countries has the opportunity to emphasize its own priorities beyond the trio program, which in the Czech case may be, for example, the aforementioned enlargement of the Union to include the Balkan countries. Otherwise, however, in addition to the joint program, the presidency agenda is also strongly determined by the legislative proposals of the European Commission which the Member States are currently negotiating. France will strive to bring to a successful conclusion negotiations on fundamental digital or climate standards, some of which the Czech Presidency may “inherit”.

“Of course, if the first country does not finish something, it will affect others. Countries can use it creatively – and the Czechia may want to complete negotiations on some climate laws, for example, before a” greener “Sweden takes over the presidency,” the chief executive told ČTK. analyst of the Czech Interests in the EU project Iva Fialová.

According to a number of experts, French President Emmanuel Macron intends to present himself as a leading figure in the EU and make the presidency part of the campaign before the April presidential elections in France. Despite the fact that the new Czech government is talking about increasing spending on the presidency against the unprecedentedly low budget planned by the previous cabinet, the French amount should be significantly higher. This will allow Paris to hire more people and organize a larger number of accompanying events, which are to be four hundred.

“It can be assumed that the French presidency will be much more visible, because Europe is an important topic for President Macron and will undoubtedly want to use it in the presidential campaign. In comparison, the Czech Republic presidency, ”says Zuzana Stuchlíková from the Europeum Institute.

One special challenge will be waiting for Czech diplomats from the French side. France intends to present all negotiating documents in its language and completely abandon English, which still functions as the most widely used language. According to Hrdá, the Czech representation to the EU counts on this and pays special emphasis to teaching French. “I think we all in Brussels are ready for that,” the diplomat added.


Source: EuroZprávy.cz by eurozpravy.cz.

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