Overview A Europe for today and tomorrow SQovereignty Solidarity Shared identity
Committee for the French Presidency of the European Union
The French Presidency of the Council of the European Union (hereinafter referred to as the “PFUE”) began on 1 January 2022. As part of prepara- tions for this event, the Minister of State for European Affairs, Clément Beaune, wanted to start a Reflection and Proposals Committee for the PFUE in order to set out broad guidelines for the upcoming presidency. The outcome of the committee’s work (independent, gender balanced and comprising academics and experts of varied backgrounds and nation- alities) was published in a report submitted to the Minister of State on 30 November 2021. The information below aims to present this report by summarizing its main themes for reflection and proposals. The committee met regularly between March and October 2021. Each meeting was based around the presentation of a thematic note drawn up by two or three committee members and a discussion with all group mem- bers. Furthermore, over 50 figures from outside the committee were called on as part of this mission. Four main ideas can be identified among the committee’s many reflec- tions. Firstly, the need to respond to uncertainties and concerns, whether they be economic and social (fear of individual loss of status), geopolitical (fear of collective decline) or regarding identity (who are we?). Next, the importance of increased solidarity between Member States of the Euro- pean Union, as we saw in the context of the recent health crisis. Similarly, the committee focused on dealing with European issues based on a mul- ti-scale approach which is not limited to a Europe of institutions or States but which also deals with more local, or conversely, more international lev- els. Finally, it also emerged that a renewal of the French method seemed desirable, with the idea of showing more humility without, however, reject- ing ambitious progress. The French vision, the essence of which is not nec- essarily being challenged, is nonetheless viewed quite warily by European partners, which suspect France of perceiving the EU as a way to push its model onto them. Efforts could thus be made in terms of education and terminology to address this issue. In order to provide an insight which, while moving beyond traditional insti- tutional frameworks, could be useful for preparing the PFUE, the commit- tee members chose a three-pronged model for their discussions, drawn up in the French authorities’ programme around the concepts of “Recov- ery”, “Strength” and “A Sense of Belonging”. But beyond that, this agenda was broadened to include analysis of the perceptions and expectations of this French Presidency in other Member States; and to examine how to more firmly establish a European dimension within France, whose public opinion is one of the most critical of the European Union.
Number of pages21p.