Feedback on the 2022 French Presidency of the Council of the European Union Conference

Feedback on the 2022 French Presidency of the Council of the European Union Conference

9 & 10 December 2021, TEPSA & Sciences Po, CEE
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Opening Remarks from the members of the TEPSA network in the coming French Presidency of the Council of the European Union

The conference on the 2022 French Presidency of the Council of the European Union TEPSA French Pre-Presidency Conference’ was co-organised with the Trans European Policy Studies Association (TEPSA) on 9-10 December 2021. This initiative is co-funded by the Europe for Citizens programme of the European Union. The conference has offered a unique opportunity of dialogue between academics and decision-makers from different Member States.

Recommendations from the members of the TEPSA network in the coming French Presidency of the Council of the European Union

The main message of the TEPSA Recommendations is that one of the key issues for the upcoming leadership of the Union is how to Europeanize the French Presidency – meaning, how to make sure that European priorities and solutions put forth by the French Presidency respond to wider European, and not merely French, interests and views. In the meantime, reinforcing the Franco-German alliance will also be on the table since Germany is getting ready to send its new leader to the European Council. Three areas are going to be extremely important. Defining what “strategic autonomy” should entail; the execution of the recovery fund; and converting the results of the Conference on the Future of Europe into something tangible.

EU Green Deal

The recovery plan for Europe is supposed to contribute partly to the climate transition of the EU. A few months after its implementation this panel offers an assessment of the green dimension of Next Generation EU asking a simple question: does the Recovery and Resilience Facility genuinely tackle the environmental issue?

The Macroeconomic Capacity Of The EU

The recovery plan for Europe has provided an unprecedented endeavor at the EU level to support European economies. This panel questions the very nature of the plan through an analysis of the content of the Recovery and Resilience plans implemented within Members state. Are they boosting economic growth? Do they participate in the structural transformation of national economies? How does the EU deal with the risk that the new facilities focus on short term expenditures?

Rule of law and democratic backsliding

The EU has been struggling to develop an effective response to democratic backsliding and rule of law violations among its member states. Can the new rule of law conditionality for EU funding help overcome the current deadlock? Which other existing tools can the EU draw on, and which remain to be developed? And how can the EU tackle democratic backsliding among candidate countries?

The Future of European Integration

The reflection on the future of Europe sees an important development in 2021with the Conference on the Future of Europe which aims at fostering a participatory democracy and inclusive reform, giving a voice to the European Citizens. The panel will offer a first opportunity to assess the results and functioning of the Conference. It will also consider the issue of differentiated integration as a possible path for the future developments of the European political project.

The EU as a Global Actor

The EU is facing a multitude of challenges in its external relations: the need to rebuild a strained transatlantic partnership with the new Biden Administration, Russia’s presence in the neighborhood and its active support for the Lukaschenko regime in Belarus, and an increasingly assertive China that is expanding its economic presence in Europe. Is the current institutional set-up sufficient to allow the EU to play a strong role internationally? How to ensure European unity when individual member states are reluctant to join common initiatives or positions? Which tools for an effective European foreign policy?

Strategic Autonomy of EU

European sovereignty, strategic autonomy and a ‘geopolitical Europe have become buzzwords in the debates on Europe’s position in the world. How to fill these words to life? Which concrete actions does the EU need to take to ensure its voice is heard both in Europe and beyond? And how can member states rally around a common vision for Europe’s strategic positioning?

Concluding Remarks at TEPSA’S 

PPC Paris covered an impressive range of key issues, from the green and digital revolutions to the implementation of the Recovery and Resilience Fund and economic governance. It also discussed a number of more horizontal and rather formidable challenges the EU faces. Some are internal and generate heated debates within the Conference on the future of Europe; there are divergences of views on the functioning of democracy and rule of law and different readings of what European solidarity means. Others are external, hence the importance of working on strategic autonomy, i.e. the capacity to act and to actively shape the world. While speakers recognized the difficulty of the tasks ahead, they mostly expressed cautious optimism on the capacity of the EU to live up to the challenges

To know more

  • Contributions to the recommendations from members of the TEPSA Network to the French Presidency: The introduction to these recommendations have been summarised by the TEPSA Recommendations team and published as an opinion article in EUObserver. You can read the op-ed here.


Supported by

co-funded by the Eurpe for Citizens programme of the EU, Integrating Diversity in the EU, Parlement européen Bureau de liaison en France, This project has received funding from the EU's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement N° 822304

Picture: patrice6000_shutterstock

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