On 1 July, the Czech Republic took over from France the rotating Presidency of the EU Council until the end of the year. The Czech Republic is holding the Presidency of the Council of the EU until the 31st December 2022. The six-month Czech Presidency follows France that led the Council in the first half of the year and will be followed by Swedish Presidency from 1 January till 30 June 2023.
During its presidency, the Czech Republic will focus on five closely linked priority areas:
- Managing the refugee crisis and Ukraine’s post-war recovery
- Energy security
- Strengthening Europe’s defence capabilities and cyberspace security
- Strategic resilience of the European economy
- Resilience of democratic institutions
In short, the Czech Presidency will put emphasis on:
RePowerEU: Given the EU’s dependence on imports of fossil fuels from Russia, the key priority of the Czech Presidency is to ensure energy security, which they identify currently as a more pressing issue than energy transition. To that end, the focus will be on accelerating the implementation of RePowerEU and the implementation of the regulation of gas reserves.
Fit for 55 package: The Presidency will focus especially on thorough implementation of the main short-term objective, i.e. remove dependence on Russian fossil fuels. They will also deal with energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy.
Climate adaptation: The presidency is seeking to clinch a deal on the Deforestation Regulation and to kick off negotiations on the Nature Restoration Regulation. It also wants to hold informal discussions on soil conservation and restoration. The informal Council meeting in July, will discuss the EU legislation on nature restoration, soil quality and climate adaptation.
Starting trilogues with the Parliament on the deforestation dossier. The Presidency wants to con- tribute to the protection of the world’s forests and the building of sustainable consumption chains unencumbered by deforestation and forest degradation. In this context, the Presidency will follow up on the adopted general approach on the legislative proposal on deforestation and start trilogues with the European Parliament.
During the Czech Presidency, in November 2022, the European Commission is expected to adopt its second Circular Economy Package which will be made up of the following six initiatives:
- a proposal for a regulation on substantiating environmental claims;
- a policy framework for bio-based, biodegradable and compostable plastics;
- a review of the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive;
- a revision of EU chemicals legislation;
- new measures to reduce the release of microplastics in the environment;
- and a proposal on promoting the right to repair.
The New Forest Strategy 2030
September 14-16: Workshop on the Implementation of the New EU Forest Strategy – The workshop is focused on forest monitoring within EU member states. It will take place in Kutná Hora with forest field trip close to Kostelec nad ?ernými lesy.
The Czech Presidency will focus on strengthening the strategic resilience of the Internal Market:
Single Market Emergency Instrument (SMEI): The European Commission will propose a new emergency tool for supply chains on September 13. The Single Market Emergency Instrument proposal includes tools to prepare for and respond to crises to ensure that fast-track decisions can be made whenever a critical situation emerges regarding the free movement of goods, services and people.
The Czech Presidency will aim at deepening free trade with democratic nations in the world. More precisely, in order to secure the availability of strategic raw materials and components for European firms, the Czech Presidency will work on accelerating the process of concluding trade agreements with democratic states and on deepening transatlantic cooperation. Moreover, to level the playing field for EU companies, the Czech Presidency would aim at strengthening the EU’s trade defence toolbox. The Czech Presidency will support the EU’s efforts to defend Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity by using all instruments and programmes offered by the EU, including the strengthening of sanctions.
EU-India: On 17 June, the EU and India formally resumed negotiations towards a free trade agreement, and begin negotiations on an investment protection agreement and an agreement on geographical indications.
Foreign Subsidies Regulation: The Czech presidency will take over the lead on the trialogue negotiations that are intended to address the distortive effects of foreign state ownership and state financing undermining the level playing field in the single market.
Relevant link: Website of the Czech Presidency