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25 January 2022

French Presidency briefs the European Parliament’s committees on its priorities

Ministers outlined the priorities of the French Presidency of the Council of the EU to parliamentary committees, in a series of meetings.

France holds the Presidency of the Council until the end of June 2022. A first set of hearings takes place between 24 and 27 January.

International Trade

On 24 January, MEPs pressed Franck Riester, Minister Delegate for Foreign Trade and Economic Attractiveness, to find out if member states have made any progress on the legislation on foreign subsidies and the recently presented anti-coercion tool. They also want to see progress on free trade agreements with Chile, and called for closer ties with Taiwan and support for Lithuania against China.

Several MEPs said the discussion on an investment agreement with China should not be relaunched without the adoption of a regulation on a trade-based instrument against forced labour. Mr Riester added that the Presidency expects an agreement on the international procurement instrument during its tenure.

Economic and Monetary Affairs

On 25 January, Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire said delivering a green and socially fair economic recovery and better integrating innovation into the EU’s economic model are top priorities. He also stressed that progress on completing the capital markets union and the banking union, as well as reviewing the economic governance model, would be key to delivering these priorities.

MEPs sought more clarification on France’s position on the taxonomy regulation and the review of the stability and growth pact. Taxation policy was also raised a few times and some French MEPs voiced their concerns over the influence they believe financial lobbies exerted during the drafting of EU financial and tax laws.

Internal Market and Consumer Protection

Unlocking the full potential of the single market, in line with the digital and green transitions, ensuring fair competition, and protecting consumers from unsafe products were among the issues highlighted by Minister Delegate for Industry, Agnès Pannier-Runacher on 25 January.

Minister of State for the Digital Transition and Electronic Communication Cédric O reiterated the will to reach a provisional agreement on the Digital Markets Act (DMA) and the Digital Services Act (DSA) under the Presidency. The Artificial Intelligence and the Data Acts were also referred to in his intervention.

MEPs mentioned, amongst other topics, the need for more fully harmonised rules, especially for the digital markets, the role of consumers in the green transition, the durability and reparability of products, interoperability, targeted advertising, common chargers, the Single Market Emergency Instrument, foreign subsidies, and SMEs.

European Parliament

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