France will assume the presidency of the Council of the European Union today.
The presidency comes at a crucial moment for President Emmanuel Macron, as it coincides with the country’s presidential elections, scheduled on 10 and 24 April. Macron could use the presidency to promote his national campaign, by highlighting a pro-EU platform. This could also work against him if his rivals manage to keep the debate focused on the French economy, immigration, and other domestic issues.
In a speech in September 2021, Macron noted that alongside working with European nations on covid-19 issues, he wants to reform the function of the visa-free Schengen travel zone by establishing a political steering committee and an emergency border support mechanism. Macron also said he was keen to “move the European migration package forward” by continuing to work with countries of origin and transit.
While Macron will be able to use the presidency to influence decisions at an EU level, it’s unlikely for him to be able to trumpet a major EU success during an election campaign. Therefore, expect Macron to make minor progress on these issues, also expect Macron’s domestic election platform to have an outsized effect on his EU presidency policies.
Wake up smarter with an assessment of the stories that will make headlines in the next 24 hours. Download The Daily Brief.
Margaux is an Analyst and regular contributor to The Daily Brief, specializing in geopolitical and security issues in the Middle East.