Monday, May 16

Why it matters. The stakes of the presidency of the European Union

This Wednesday at the Strasbourg headquarters of the European Parliament, Emmanuel Macron will deliver a speech to the deputies of the Twenty-Seven, which will officially launch the French presidency of the Council of the European Union, for six months. This intervention by the President of the Republic will be carefully followed in Brussels and in the European capitals, since the French President will speak “on behalf of the 27 countries of the EU”, specifies the French presidency.

The presidency of a “pro-Europeans”

Since his election in 2017, celebrated to the sound of the EU anthem, Emmanuel Macron has posed as the leader of pro-Europeans against “nationalists” and “populists”, and praises the progress made at 27, such as the post-Covid 19 recovery plan of 750 billion euros adopted in 2020.

“Hot Files”

In his speech, scheduled in the European hemicycle at the end of the morning, Emmanuel Macron will return to the priorities of the half-yearly presidency, which he had detailed on December 9, and whose “red thread” is to “strengthen European sovereignty”. , explained one of his advisers.

With the hope of obtaining “quick and concrete results” on several issues such as the minimum wage, the carbon border tax or the reform of the Schengen area to better fight against irregular migration.

It should also “rise above the program for these six months” to “carry the singular path of Europe”, which wants to be “a power of stability” in “a turbulent international context” marked in particular by tensions between Russia and Ukraine at the EU borders, according to an adviser.

A (strong) national dimension

The French president’s intervention will also have a strong national dimension, because even if he has not yet officially declared himself a candidate in the April 10 election, several of his opponents are presenting their European program this week.

“We must not see” in the speech before the MEPs “an exercise disconnected from the concerns of the French”, assumes the Elysée, insisting again on the interdependence of national and European policies.

His speech of about twenty minutes will be followed by a long sequence of questions and answers with the deputies, fewer in number than usual due to the anti-Covid gauge measures. He will be questioned by elected representatives from all countries but, as is customary for the rotating presidencies of the EU, an important place will be left to French speakers.

Christophe Castaner, leader of LREM deputies in the National Assembly, said on Tuesday that he feared “a match” between a president who “will talk about Europe” and opponents “who will not fail to talk about petty politics and presidential campaign”.

It is obvious that this French presidency of the European Union and the presidential campaign will be closely intertwined. This is evidenced by Emmanuel Macron’s desire to promote a “new European model”, on March 10 at the European Council. Only one month before the first round of the presidential election.

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