Commissioner Breton visits French ministries ahead of country’s EU presidency – EURACTIV.com

The Digital Markets Act, Digital Services Act, and the French-British fishing boat spat were some of the topics on the agenda when EU Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton began a two-day visit to Paris on Thursday (28 October).

The visit takes place ahead of France taking over the rotating EU Council presidency in January and Breton will meet several members of the executive. EURACTIV France reports.

Breton, who was economy minister under former President Jacques Chirac, visited several members of the French government to “integrate the orientations of the French presidency”, he told the press.

Breton met with Prime Minister Jean Castex, Foreign and EU Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly and was heard by senators.

Breton will end his visit on Friday (28 October) following his meetings with Justice Minister Éric Dupond-Moretti, Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin and Industry Minister Agnès Pannier-Runacher.

France is preparing to hold the rotating EU Council presidency from 1 January 2022 for six months. It will have control over the agenda and be able to prioritise certain issues.

DMA/DSA, nuclear and Brexit

In his capacity as Commissioner for the Internal Market, Industrial Policy, Digital, Audiovisual, Defence and Space, Breton revisited several legislative dossiers that should play an important role during the first half of France’s six-month presidency.

On the digital side, he talked about the Digital Markets Act (DMA) and Digital Services Act (DSA) projects, which France is keen to see implemented during its presidency stint.

However, the delay in the talks, particularly regarding the DSA, suggests these texts will not be completed by spring 2022, despite this being the initially envisaged deadline.

Breton nevertheless told EURACTIV France that he felt “things are moving well” and that he was “hopeful” that both regulations would be adopted during the French EU presidency.

The French Commissioner also said that the Council’s emerging position regarding the Commission having a more significant role in enforcing the DSA – which France backs – “seems to him to be going in the right direction”, the French commissioner added.

EU countries reject strict deadline for DSA, DMA

A majority of EU countries have succeeded in rejecting the commitment to a tight timeline for an agreement on two key pieces of digital legislation that would have served well the French government ahead of the presidential elections there in April next year.

Breton also said he intended to “do everything” to present the Commission’s draft law on electronic chips, the Chips Act, during France’s EU presidency stint.

The Commissioner also spoke of the energy crisis currently facing Europe.

“The objectives of the Green Deal require an increase in our capacity to produce electricity on the European continent,” he said, adding that this could not be achieved without a share of nuclear power in the energy mix.

Asked about the French desire to move forward on “social Europe” and towards a European minimum wage, Breton said he advocated for “harmonisation” within the EU.

The Commissioner was also very firm on the recent escalation between France and the UK over fisheries.

“There will be no ambiguity on our part” in the face of British commitments that “are not all kept”, he said. “We are not fooled by anything”, he insisted, before concluding that “reason will ultimately prevail”.

[Edited by Alice Taylor]

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