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Recovery, Power, Belonging: The Priorities of the French Presidency of the Council of the European Union (January - June 2022)

  1. Background

France will take over the Presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU) from January 1st to June 30th, 2022, coinciding with the general election campaign, i.e., the election of the President of the Republic in April, and that of the National Assembly members (Parliament's lower house) in June.

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French Data Protection Authority deliberation relating to Monsanto Company

In a deliberation dated 26 July relating to MONSANTO COMPANY, the French data protection authority (Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertés -CNIL”) confirmed – and this is good news – that personal data processing that consists of collecting information for the purpose of identifying influential individuals to whom a company would like to promote its interests can be, subject to certain conditions, carried out on the basis of the legitimate interest pursued by the data controller.

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Consumer Protection: EU consumer credit rules are going through overhaul

In June 2021, the European Commission presented a proposal for a revision of Directive 2008/48/EC on credit agreements for consumers (CCD, Consumer Credit Directive), kicking off a reform with significant implications for the financial, e-commerce and fintech sectors in the European Union (EU).

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Summary of the Member’s Bill “Digital Footprint”

The  bill to reduce the environmental footprint of the digital economy, sponsored by Senator Patrick Chaize (Conservatives), is the direct outcome of the report presented by the Senate’s task force on this issue in June 2020.

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Digital Services Act Package: A Right Step towards a Europe fit for the Digital Age?

Twenty years after the adoption of the e-Commerce Directive, the European Commission released its Digital Services Act Package (Package) comprising two proposals for a Regulation, the Digital Services Act (DSA) and the Digital Markets Act (DMA), that will profoundly modify the legal regime for online services:

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Briefing on the legal and policy issues attendant to the identification and tracing of Covid-19 cases

These past months, numerous international, European and national initiatives to develop digital tools to contain the spread of the Covid-19 epidemic have sprung forth. These projects raise important legal, ethical and political issues, pertaining to both their architecture and their governance. To the extent they raise the issue of the protection of privacy in the digital age it would seem reasonable and appropriate to revisit the existing legal framework to ward against too much intrusion, or even the generalized surveillance of the population.

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Snapshot of the EU Digital Agenda in light of COVID-19

The European Commission published its Digital Package on February 19th, 2020, setting the framework for action over the next five years in the digital sphere. The COVID-19 outbreak has, however, forced the European institutions to rapidly switch into crisis management mode; political energy has been drawn towards containing the spread of the virus, with marginal reviews so far of its 2020 Work Programme. 

File to download Digital look at the EU Digital agenda in light of COVID19 - 21 April 2020.pdf

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Overview of the Law on the fight against waste and the circular economy

The adoption of the Law of 10 February, 2020 on the fight against waste and the circular economy is the result of the discussions with all stakeholders throughout 2019. 

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EU Digital Agenda

These last five years have been busy for digital stakeholders in Europe. The Juncker’s Commission presented no less than 38 initiatives, of which 23 were legislative proposals, in the fields of data protection, cybersecurity, audiovisual, copyright and platforms, to name only the highlights. Most of the initiatives were adopted, but there is hard work left on the funding of digital infrastructure and innovation, on e-privacy, on keeping the internet cleaner and safer.

File to download FIPRA Digital Practice_Snapshot EU Digital Agenda_191104.pdf

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Biography of Thierry Breton - second French candidate to the European Commissioner role

Aged 64, and an engineer by training, former Economy and Finance Minister Thierry Breton is above all a recognized and respected business leader internationally. He was called in to head several major French IT and telecom companies to rescue them and was quite successful in turning then around. 

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Brexit: deal or no-deal?

State of play

After taking office as Prime Minister (PM) on July 24th, 2019, Boris Johnson has made it clear that leaving the European Union (EU) on October 31st, with or without a deal, was his central focus. The UK Parliament has yet upset Johnson’s applecart by forming a parliamentary majority opposed to a no-deal during the only time window the UK government allowed for Parliament to meet, September 3rd to 9th. Parliament passed two bills to prevent a no-deal.

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Biography of Sylvie Goulard, the French candidate to the European Commissioner role

Sylvie Goulard, a centrist figurehead (initially affiliated to UDF then Modem, member of the ALDE group at the European Parliament), is a staunch pro-European militant who is strongly in favor of a Federalist Europe.


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Results of the 2019 European elections and potential consequences in France

France, like the other Member States, saw its voter turnout reach a record-breaking level, with 50.12% voter participation, an 8% increase from the last elections five years ago.

In France, both the populist Rassemblement National (RN)party and the majority La République en Marche (LaREM) party emerged as the leading forces in this election. With 23.31% of the vote (22 MEPs, +1 after ‘Brexit’), RN has done slightly better than it did in the last presidential elections while maintaining its record score in the 2014 European Parliament elections. LaREM - which ran in the election for the first time - clearly attracted a center-right and pro-Europe electorate but with only 22.41% (21 MEPs, +2 after ‘Brexit’), narrowly lost its bid to become the first political force at the French level.

The results also confirmed the seismic shift reverberating in French politics since the last presidential elections: the two historical mainstream parties, LR and PS, have been overtaken, and with respectively 8.48% (8 MEPs elected) and 6.19% (5 MEPs, +1 after the Brexit), they will have little influence to yield at either the French or European level.

With 13.48% and 12 elected MEPs (+1 MEP after ‘Brexit’) the Greens (EELV) became the third force, attracting a center-left electorate and the youth vote.

The far-left party La France Insoumise (LFI) failed to recreate the momentum of the 2017 presidential race (+19%) and only attracted 6.31% of voters, giving them 6 MEPs. This is a clear failure for a party which self-proclaimed itself to be the leading force of the left and the Government’s strongest challenger.

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European Elections Overview

At the moment, the real winner of the European elections in France is the abstention. Traditionally, those elections fail to attract a large panel of electors and only see the most proactive citizens vote. The result is a polarization of the electorate, with on one side the pro-EU almost federalist voters and on the other populists against the Government. This should be once again the case with only 41% of people saying they intend to vote.

File to download 190508 EP Elections Review - May 2019 004.pdf

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Adoption of the PACTE Bill - New steps in the Government's economic policy

On April 11th, the Action Plan for Growth and Transformation of Businesses (PACTE) Bill was adopted by the National Assembly, after 28 weeks of parliamentary debates. The Government presented the text as the second stage of its economic reform program, following the Labour law reform that was adopted in 2017. 

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European Elections Review

As the Yellow Vest movement is slowly fading away, “old-school” politics is coming back. Intense negotiations between political figures, threats of departure, backstabbing and criticisms among allies over the last weeks. The idea of a Yellow Vest list for the elections has disappeared alongside the support from the population toward the movement. As it was credited with more than 10% at the climax of the social movement, it has now been reduced at a rate of knots.

Publication Publication

Government reshuffle - Biographies of the new Ministers

Three ministers left the Government  following the announcement of the Presidential party's (LaREM) list for the European elections : Nathalie Loiseau, former Minister in charge of European Affairs and head of the list, as well as  two Junior Ministers - Benjamin Griveaux, the Government’s Spokesperson, and Mounir Mahjoubi, in charge of Digital Affairs - who have publicly stated that they are candidates to lead the LaREM list for the City of Paris in the upcoming mayoral elections, planned for spring 2020. 

File to download Biographies of Amélie de Montchalin, Sibeth Ndiaye and Cédric O.pdf

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GAFA tax: no legal, economic or political sense

In view of the difficulties encountered in reaching a consensus at European level on the digital tax package, France, similarly to Italy, Austria, Spain and the United Kingdom, decided to introduce a domestic digital tax bill.

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Proposal for a EU Regulation on Platform-to-Business (P2B)

The European Commission has run an intensive work to assess the need for a legal framework for online platforms since the beginning of its mandate.

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💰 Draft Budget Law for 2019 (PLF 2019)

On Monday 24 September, the Government presented the draft Budget Law for 2019 (PLF 2019) to the Council of Ministers and submitted it to the National Assembly. The parliamentary debate will begin on October 9th. The examination of the draft Budget Law, together with the Social Security bill, will remain the top priority until the end of December. The traditional “budget marathon" is back.