France takes the lead in Europe on 1st July. This French presidency of the EU comes in a particular context, marked by the French rejection of the European Constitutional Treaty in 2006 and the recent No from Ireland. Moreover, the EU elections and the eventual entry into force of the amended treaty will closely follow the French EU presidency. The future of Europe will be a central issue in debates.
To highlight the importance of development cooperation, the French national association, Coordination SUD, has planned several activities, both at national level and, with CONCORD, at European level. Its presidency programme focuses on the EU's relationships with countries from the South and, more widely, the EU's role in globalisation. The future of Europe will be the cross-cutting theme tackled from different angles.
Advocacy work aimed at French and EU decision-makers and communication and awareness-raising activities will be carried out to ensure that civil society’s main concerns are included in the official EU agenda. A manifesto for the French EU presidency, drafted by Coordination SUD, sets out NGOs' analysis and their demands for the future of the EU and the EU's relations with countries from the South.
For each theme, a European seminar will be organised:
- Development financing (1 July): in the context of the international summits, on aid effectiveness in Accra and on development financing in Doha in December.
- Agriculture and development (16 September): in the context of the review of the EU budget and the re-assessment of the Common Agricultural Policy.
- Climate change and development (25 September): the impact of global warming on development in the South.
- International conferences on the role of national platforms (27-28 October) and on the EU as seen by the rest of the world (29-30 October, co-organised with CONCORD) with 80 representatives from all over the world sharing their opinions on different aspects of the EU's external policies, and its role.
- Citizens, the EU and international solidarity (18-19 November): the role of citizens in the elaboration of the EU project and particularly with regard to development and solidarity.
- Europe-Africa relations (5 December): with the joint EU-Africa strategy having been adopted at the end of 2007, there is a need to carry on with the analysis and advocacy work on this subject that was undertaken under the preceding presidencies. The aim is to have proposals for a balanced and mutually enriching relationship between the two continents.
For further information contact Florence McBain
Also check the Euforic newsfeed on the French EU Presidency