As France took over the rotating presidency of the European Council, it presented its programme for the next six months.
On trade, the programme of France includes a focus on:
-Enhanced EU trade strategy under the “An Open, Sustainable and Assertive Trade Policy”
-Ensuring that trade policy imperatives take better account of sustainable development and the achievement of the objectives of the Green Deal
-Revision of the Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP) and backing the revision of the approach to sustainable development in trade agreements
-Enhanced measures to ensure greater protection of health and the environment, in compliance with WTO rules (“mirror measures”)
-Bolstering and strengthening EU trade defence tools and strategic autonomy tools (e.g. anti-coercion regulation)
The focus for agriculture will be on, inter alia:
- Encouraging Council discussions on reciprocal environmental and health production standards for European products and products imported from third countries with the aim of subjecting imported products to certain production requirements applied in the European Union where necessary (“mirror clauses”). This work will prioritise the introduction of sectoral mirror clauses.
-Promoting initiatives to accelerate the agroecological transition and thereby reduce the use of pesticides, which is an integral part of the Farm to Fork Strategy for fair, healthy and environmentally-friendly food systems.
The presidency is responsible for planning and chairing meetings in the Council and its preparatory bodies, and for representing the Council in relations with other EU institutions. Together with the Czech Republic and Sweden, France makes up the trio of EU Member States that will preside over the European Council from 2022 to 2023. The trio sets long-term goals and prepares a common agenda determining the topics and major issues that will be addressed by the Council over an 18-month period. On the basis of this programme, each of the three countries prepares its own more detailed 6-month programme.
Contact: Lebo Mofolo, email@example.com