Energy crisis and digitisation will be the focus of the Czech Presidency at the EU Council
As of today, the Czech Republic will preside over the Council of the European Union until 31 December 2022. The six-month Czech Presidency follows France, which led the Council in the first half of the year, and will be followed by Sweden in 2023. Those three states together form the presidency trio and have created a joint programme of their presidencies.
The Central and Eastern European country’s programme is inevitably influenced by the war, which broke out in Ukraine at the end of February, and will focus on five 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
However, in the next six months, the green and digital twin transition will continue to be in the spotlight, with a focus on remaining files in the Fit for 55 package. After the position already taken by the European Parliament and the EU Council on the CO2 emission standards for cars and vans, Prague will guide upcoming trilogue talks, with all the institutions already having agreed on the main points of the legislation (namely, the technology ban in 2035).
The Czech Presidency will be closely involved in the initiatives aimed at mitigating the impact of the energy crisis in Europe, including the RePowerEU plan. An important aspect is the diversification of sources including logistics, energy savings and the acceleration of the transition to low-emission and renewable energy sources.
The European Chips Act, which aims to bolster Europe’s competitiveness and resilience in semiconductor technologies and applications, is a key proposal for the Czech Presidency, alongside the Artificial Intelligence Act. On this dossier, however, it will be difficult to align the positions of all Member States in just six months. Prague will also strive for the adoption of the European Digital Identity Wallet (a secure and trustworthy pan-European tool for proving a citizen’s identity) and the creation of an efficient and fair data market.
In March, CLEPA joined a coalition calling on EU institutions to makes free trade deals a priority. After the French Presidency, the expectation is that Czech Republic will increasingly focus on this kind of agreement but without making it a priority. The real push should come with the following Swedish presidency.
Czechia is a parliamentary republic with a head of government – the prime minister – and a head of state – the president. The current Prime Minister is Petr Fiala, from the Civic Democratic Party (ODS). He has been in office since November 2021 and was preceded by Andrej Babiš (2017-2021), the founder of the party ANO 2011. Czech President Miloš Zeman was first elected to the post in 2013 and had previously served as prime minister, from 1998 to 2002.
Czechia will hold the Presidency of the Council of the EU for the second time, having previously held the post in the first half of 2009, coinciding with the last months of the sixth legislative term of the European Parliament and with the European elections, held between 4 and 7 June 2009.
Source: European Parliament
In: CLEPA News, Growth & Competitiveness