French Presidency of the Council of the European Union
1st semester 2022
The rotating presidency of the Council of the EU
The Council of the European Union is one of the main institutions of the EU, along with the European Commission, the European Council (whose members are the heads of state or government and the President of the European Commission) and the European Parliament. The Council meets in 10 different configurations of national ministers from each EU country depending on the subject being discussed. Its role is mainly to negotiate and adopt EU legislation with the European Parliament, based on the proposals put forward by the European Commission, but also to coordinate the policies of the EU countries, develop the EU's foreign and security policy in line with the guidelines established by the European Council and to conclude agreements between the EU and other countries or international institutions.
The presidency of the Council of the European Union rotates every 6 months. Only the Foreign Affairs Council is permanently chaired by the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy; the other specialised configurations of the Council and the many bodies attached to it (COREPER, which is composed of the Member States' permanent representatives to the EU, working groups) are chaired by each Member State in turn for a period of six months. The order of rotation between States must be equal: it is fixed by a decision of the European Council made by qualified majority voting. Succeeding Slovenia and preceding the Czech Republic, France will preside the Council of the European Union from 1 January to 30 June 2022.
The country holding the presidency of the Council is responsible for planning the work for the six months, taking care of the administrative functioning (convening meetings, setting agendas, drawing up minutes) and facilitating compromises on the texts submitted for adoption by the Council.
The parliament of the country presiding the Council is responsible for planning the inter-parliamentary conferences and meetings of the Conference of Parliamentary Committees for Union Affairs (COSAC).
The parliamentary component of the French presidency takes the form of a series of conferences bringing together national and European parliamentarians. The longest standing of these conferences is COSAC, which is made up of delegations from the European affairs committees of the 27 national parliaments and a delegation from the European Parliament. COSAC meets twice every semester, in two different formats: the COSAC Chairperson’s meeting and the COSAC Plenary meeting. In the first semester of 2022, both meetings will be held in Paris: the Chairperson’s meeting at the Senate on 13 and 14 January 2022 and the Plenary meeting at the National Assembly on 3, 4 and 5 March 2022.
In accordance with EU treaties, a further three interparliamentary conferences are scheduled on the following subjects:
- the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) (Senate, 24 and 25 February 2022),
- scrutiny of Europol, the agency responsible for cooperation between European police forces (National Assembly, 28 February 2022)
- stability, economic coordination and governance in the European Union (European Parliament, 15 and 16 March 2022, to be confirmed).
The Parliament of the country holding the Presidency of the EU Council may also convene additional interparliamentary conferences. The French Parliament is therefore organising conferences on the following matters:
- “digital and space” (2 March 2022) and “European policies on behalf of citizens: Green Deal, CAP and regional policies” (20 and 21 March 2022), which are prepared under the coordination of the Vice-president in charge of international affairs, Ms Laetitia Saint-Paul, for the National Assembly;
- “strategic economic autonomy of the EU” (13 and 14 March 2022) and “migratory challenges” (15 and 16 May 2022) for the Senate.