Beaune: French Presidency of Council of EU to Ensure CoFoE Ends Successfully

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French President Emmanuel Macron. (Photo by AP)

Brussels, January 11 (TASR) – France and the French Presidency of the Council of the EU will do their utmost to ensure that the ongoing Conference on the Future of Europe (CoFoE) ends successfully and with results that benefit the public, French State Secretary for European Affairs Clement Beaune has stated.

During a meeting with European journalists in Paris last week to mark the start of the French presidency, Beaune noted that Paris wants to continue with the CoFoE at the EU’s helm. At the same time, he intends to meet the expectations of the French people, as formulated last September during discussions in all 18 French regions. He specified that the final message of all regional panels was presented to the French Government in the autumn.

The recommendations of people in France and in Europe, he said, have helped to determine the priorities of the six-month French Presidency of the Council of the EU. When asked by journalists whether the CoFoE is in danger of ending in failure, Beaune expressed his confidence that the conference will end in May 2022 and that the opinions collected from EU citizens will be translated into the conference conclusions and concrete reforms.

The secretary remarked that he’s personally involved in the activities of the conference. He said the French government is also listening carefully to the public’s proposals on the CoFoE digital platform and is also taking into account the outcome of direct consultations with the young generation, which have taken place for the first time in France’s history.

Beaune said that several EU-member states are organising similar events with the public, and he expressed the hope that people’s suggestions and contributions will be crystallised into a coherent synthesis by May, which will then be evaluated by French President Emmanuel Macron, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and the next head of the European Parliament.

“I can’t predict the final outcome of the Europe-wide conference, but we know the regional and national results of the French effort, in which four main topics stood out: climate; security and defence; industrial policy and investment; and values and the protection of the rule of law,” said Beaune, calling it interesting that young French people identified the protection of EU values as a top priority.