- The European Commission has recently presented its agenda for 2022, with plans to conclude the negotiations on key climate and digital policy initiatives and launch new cooperation projects in defence, foreign, and industrial policy.
- Much of this work will be coordinated by France, which will hold the Presidency of the Council of the European Union in January-July 2022. Since 2017, global trends have brought the EU consensus on such issues as defence and trade closer to France’s long-standing positions, and France’s President Emmanuel Macron will undoubtedly seek to capitalize on this during Paris’ Presidency of the Council.
- France’s behaviour at the helm of the Presidency will also be shaped by the upcoming national elections (in April-June 2022), as Macron attempts to secure a second term in office. The election increases the likelihood of politicization of European policymaking and integration and puts pressure on Macron to deliver tangible results relevant to his voters.
- In this context, France is likely to push for the approval of the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism and the Digital Markets Act proposed by the Commission, for strengthening the external EU borders, as well as for institutionalising the twin logic of “strategic autonomy” and “European sovereignty” in the implementation of the EU Strategic Compass.
- Lithuanian decision makers should not only identify the opportunities for constructive involvement in Paris’ agenda, but also must be prepared for how it will be affected by the politicisation of European integration in France.