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French EU Presidency leaves much to be desired

The French Presidency of the Council of the EU displayed a positive commitment to cooperation and openness to engage with civil society, but did not do enough to meet the challenges Europe and the planet face or to give youth faith in a liveable future, reveals an EEB assessment.

The first to take the helm in the France-Czech Republic-Sweden Presidency Trio for 2022-2023, France has failed to both set a high bar for the incoming Czech and Swedish Presidencies and to put Europe on track to meet the ambitions of the European Green Deal. 

The French Presidency helped ensure a strong commitment to halt the sale of internal combustion engines by 2030, but they compromised on ambition to get a deal on climate and energy files, and disappointed by pushing national agendas on agriculture and nuclear in the European context, weakening the EGD and the Taxonomy,

says Patrick ten Brink, EEB Secretary General.

These are the conclusions of the EEB and Seas at Risk, signed off by the EEB’s board, in their comprehensive biannual assessment of the outgoing Presidency’s performance against the Ten Green Tests – yardsticks to measure environmental progress – that were defined at the beginning of France’s term.

The French presided over the Council of the EUn during a period of turbulence – including the Covid-19 pandemic, Russia’s war on Ukraine and France’s own presidential elections. It also had significant responsibility for making the European Green Deal the transformative agenda it was supposed to be. It is for this reason that the EEB’s assessment addresses effort and outcome separately. Nonetheless, the results, mixed on effort and poor on outcome, fail to inspire on both accounts.

In times of climate, biodiversity and pollution crises, Member States’ governments, under the leadership of the Council Presidency, need to make considerable additional efforts to extend the limits of the possible to match what is needed. The French Presidency failed to do so and instead mainly preserved the status quo,”

says Patrizia Heidegger, Deputy Secretary General of the EEB.

We look to the incoming Czech Presidency to demonstrate the leadership on environmental issues that people and planet urgently need. The EEB’s Memorandum for the Czech Presidency outlines our expectations for the incoming Presidency in Ten Tests.

ENDS