The Czech Republic is about to assume the Presidency of the Council of the EU for the second time in history from the first of June 2022. France, Sweden, and the Czech Republic follow on from former presidency trio Germany, Portugal, and Slovenia. The topic of the Czech presidency was discussed during the working breakfast with H. E Alex Dutertre, the French ambassador in the Czech Republic, H. E. Frederik Jörgensen, the Swedish ambassador in the Czech Republic, Jaroslav Bžoch, a member of the Parliament of the Czech Republic and, Štepán Černý from the Office of the Government of the Czech Republic.
H. E. Alex Dutertre started off by speaking of the role of the presidency and going for a more sovereign Europe. He spoke of the vision and general orientation of the EU in going towards a rule-based international order that is aggressive. He further touched on the need for the EU to not lose its competitive edge, by investing in challenges and being challenged. On the impact at the end of the presidency, he said the impact will be assessed in two dimensions, whether the country has been able to prepare and push forth some legislative files to advance the agenda and, the type of role they want to play.
Štepán Černý indicated that with regards to taking over the presidency in July, the Czech government is taking the presidency very seriously and that the agenda-setting files will indicate the progress in the presidency. He also alluded to the economic and social crisis that needs to be tackled by the presidency of the council, under the two pillars: prosperity and security.
In H. E. Frederik Jörgensen’s address, he highlighted the importance for the presidency to be an honest broker and the need for the EU to start re-kicking the economies and for increased visibility on the global stage. He indicated the EU is faced with the challenge to fight organized crime, and at times terrorist attacks, and called for closer cooperation between EU states. He further called on the EU to be more resilient in health and to coordinate better when hit by another pandemic of the same magnitude as COVID-19, or higher.
Jaroslav Bžoch touched on the work of the presidency and highlighted the committee that is about to be set up that handles the presidency and the future of the EU. He also spoke of the work in the parliament to bring the EU close to its citizens, by making it famous and combating misinformation.
Finally, the speakers discussed the energy crisis as there are not enough gas elements from Russia and, the need to approach other global economies to stabilize the pricing. On the issue of the single market, they indicated that there was a need to rely more on production as the supply lines have been shortened due to the pandemic plus security. They discussed the vitality of picking up some top priorities that the council has put forward, like the possibility to strengthen the EU security hand in hand with NATO and strategic autonomy by making Europe more sovereign.