On Saturday, France assumed the rotating presidency of the European Union for six months with an ambitious program for a “strong” and “sovereign” Europe, which may be affected by the surge of new infections with Covid-19 and the presidential elections in April.
At midnight, France took over the presidency from Slovenia, which had been chairing the European Council since July 1, to hand it over to the Czech Republic in the second half of the year.
In a move symbolizing this move, the Eiffel Tower and the Elysee Palace were lit up in European blue.
The Council of the European Union represents the interests of the 27 member states before the European Commission and Parliament. The quarterly presidency convenes ministerial meetings, sets the agenda, and leads negotiations.
Over the course of six months, France will have a lot of leverage to move some issues forward and reach settlements between member states.