During France’s EU Presidency “Climate and Economic” Objectives will be Integrated

President Emmanuel Macron has indicated that one of the key themes of France’s EU Council presidency agenda in the first half of 2022 will be to promote a new European growth model. The plan does not include a climate change strategy, but it will be tightly linked to Macron’s economic goals. 

On Thursday, the French president outlined his plan to build a more sovereign, humane, and economically dynamic Europe with ambitious environmental goals. 

The president does not want to waste any time in achieving two goals, halving greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and becoming carbon neutral by 2050. 

While the climate transition is not a cornerstone of Macron’s strategy, it will be inextricably connected to his economic growth goals. For example, the French president has urged industrialists to develop decarbonization solutions that are compatible with the growth strategy. 

Macron also wants to rely on the growth of innovative industry sectors to shape the world in 2030, and he anticipates the creation of jobs related to the energy transition. He also stated that businesses and individuals will be assisted in striking a balance between climate ambition and social fairness. 

While Macron’s speech managed to reconcile economic development and environmental goals, Neil Makaroff, European manager for the Climate Action Network, would have preferred if the climate, as well as the fight against energy and social insecurity, were given more prominence, as these are two issues that Europeans are grappling with, according to him. 

Macron also outlined three specific steps that he intends to perform during his administration. 

To begin, he wants to enact “mirror clauses” to prevent unfair competition between products imported into the EU and those made on its soil. European economic actors must not suffer as a result of their efforts to save the planet. 

The French president also wants to speed up the European carbon border adjustment mechanism in order to maintain our competitiveness, which is a goal shared by the French political elite. 

Finally, Macron would like to create a European tool to tackle imported deforestation. 

However, no information was provided on the European Green Deal or the Fit for 55 packages, which will be debated in the coming months by EU members. 

Makaroff, on the other hand, advised against any temptation to put particularly French concerns on the EU agenda, stressing that the French presidency should not become a forum for national interests such as nuclear energy. The risk would be that the climate issue would be stymied. 

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