French Pre-Presidency Conference, Paris, 9-10 December 2021

On 1 January 2022, Slovenia will hand over the Presidency of the Council of the EU to France, which will hold its reigns once again, as it has done on multiple occasions since the rotating presidency was introduced. During the next six months, the French Presidency will have to sail through troubled waters to address some of the most pressing EU issues, such as the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, the implementation of the European Green Deal, the digital agenda and EU’s relations with its external partners. To scrutinise the priorities and challenges of the Presidency, TEPSA and its French Member Institute, Centre for European Studies and Comparative Politics at Sciences Po Paris, hosted the French Pre-Presidency Conference on 9 and 10 December 2021.

On the occasion of the TEPSA French Pre-Presidency Conference, TEPSA presented to French officials the Recommendations from the members of the TEPSA network to the incoming French Presidency. You can learn more about the TEPSA Recommendations here.

TEPSA and Sciences Po CEE gathered high-level panellists to speak in plenary and parallel sessions about current EU affairs, including the European Green Deal, European solidarity, digitalisation, the EU post-pandemic, the Conference on the Future of Europe, Enlargement, and European strategic autonomy. 



During the two day-event, EU and French policy-makers, officials, researchers, journalists and civil society members aimed at answering some of the following questions:

  1. Does the Recovery and Resilience Facility genuinely tackle the environmental issue?

  2. How does the EU deal with the risk that the new facilities that the Recovery and Resilience Facility provide focus on short terms expenditures?

  3. Can the new rule of law conditionality for EU funding help overcome the current deadlock? Which other existing tools can the EU draw on, and which remain to be developed? And how can the EU tackle democratic backsliding among candidate countries?

  4. What are the latest developments on the reflection on the future of Europe? Has the Conference on the Future of Europe succeeded in being a forum for participatory democracy and inclusive reforms in this regard? Is differentiated integration as a possible path for the future developments of the European political project?

  5. Have things changed over the last years with a greater concern in Brussels for the social consequences of European integration?

  6. Is the current institutional set-up sufficient to allow the EU to play a strong role internationally? How to ensure European unity when individual member states are reluctant to join common initiatives or positions? Which tools for an effective European foreign policy?

  7. Which concrete actions does the EU need to take to ensure its voice is heard both in Europe and beyond? And how can member states rally around a common vision for Europe’s strategic positioning?

Opening Remarks
In this panel Florence Haegel and Jim Cloos give their opening remarks to the conference.

TEPSA Recommendations to the French Presidency
In this panel, TEPSA presents to David Cvach from the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs the Recommendations from the members of the TEPSA network to the incoming French Presidency. Prior to the regular TEPSA Pre-Presidency Conferences, TEPSA has a tradition of formulating recommendations to present to the incoming Council Presidency. In advance of the French Pre-Presidency Conference, TEPSA released key recommendations to the French Presidency of the Council of the European Union. These recommendations are formulated by experts from the TEPSA network, without necessarily representing the views of TEPSA or its Member Institutes.

Next Generation EU & the EU Green Deal
In this panel Grégoire Chauvière Le Drian (European Investment Bank), Thomas Pellerin-Carlin (Jacques Delors Institute), and Louise van Schaik (Clingendael Institute & TEPSA) discuss the Next Generation EU package and the EU Green Deal in a panel moderated by Charlotte Halpern (Sciences Po, CEE & TEPSA).

Next Generation EU & the Macroeconomic Capacity of Europe
In this panel Diane Fromage (Sciences Po Law School), Edouard Chrétien (French Ministry of Economy and Finances), and Francesco Saraceno (Sciences Po OFCE) discuss the Next generation EU package and the Macroeconomic capacity of the European Union in a panel moderated by Michele Chang (College of Europe & TEPSA).

Rule of Law and Democratic Backsliding
In this panel Gwendoline Delbos-Corfield MEP (Group of the Greens & European Free Alliance), Petr Kratochvíl (Institute of International Relations Prague & TEPSA), Lucia Mokrá (Comenius University Bratislava & Chairperson of the TEPSA Board), and Paul Schmidt (ÖGFE & TEPSA) discuss the rule of law and democratic backsliding in the EU in a panel moderated by Natasha Wunsch (Sciences Po CEE & TEPSA).

The Future of European Integration
In this panel Ivo Belet (Member of Cabinet of Vice-President Dubravka Šuica, Member of the European Commission in charge of Democracy and Demography), Frank Schimmelfennig (Center for Comparative and International Studies, ETH Zürich & TEPSA), and Donald Wertlen (IESIR – Comenius University Bratislava & TEPSA) discuss the future of European Integration in this PPC panel organised in conjunction with the Integrating Diversity in the European Union (InDivEU) project. The panel is moderated by Olivier Costa (Sciences Po CEVIPOF & CNRS). This panel is co-funded by the Europe for Citizens programme of the European Union The InDivEU project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 822304.

The EU as a Global Actor
In this panel Magdalena Góra (Jagiellonian University & TEPSA), Christian Lequesne (Sciences Po CERI), and Nicoletta Pirozzi (Istituto Affari Internazionali & TEPSA) discuss the EU as a global actor in a panel moderated by TEPSA Secretary-General Jim Cloos.

The Strategic Autonomy of Europe
In this panel Jim Cloos (TEPSA Secretary General), Cyril Piquemal (French Ministry of Foreign Affairs), Elvire Fabry (Jacques Delors Institute), Roderick Parkes (DGAP & TEPSA), and Pierre Vimont (Carnegie Europe) discuss the strategic autonomy of Europe in a roundtable moderated by Cornelia Woll (MaxPo, Sciences Po CEE & TEPSA).

Concluding Remarks
In this panel Lucia Mokrà (Chair of the TEPSA Board), Cyril Piquemal (French Ministry of Foreign Affairs), and Olivier Rozenberg (Sciences Po CEE & TEPSA) give their concluding remarks and close the conference.