France is a semi-presidential republic with a head of government – the prime minister – appointed by the president who is the directly elected head of state. France’s territory consists of 18 administrative regions – 13 metropolitan (i.e. European France) and 5 overseas regions. All 5 of the overseas regions, as well as Saint-Martin (a French territory in the Caribbean) are considered part of the EU (with the status of outermost region). Strasbourg, a city in France, is one of the three official seats of the European institutions. The others are Brussels and Luxembourg City. Location on the EU map
Trade and economy
The most important sectors of France’s economy in 2016 were public administration, defence, education, human health and social work activities (22.7 %), wholesale and retail trade, transport, accommodation and food services (17.6 %) and industry (14.1 %).
Intra-EU trade accounts for 59% of France’s exports (Germany 16%, Spain 8% and Italy 7%), while outside the EU 7% go to the United States and 4% to China.
In terms of imports, 69% come from EU Member States (Germany 19%, Belgium 11% and the Netherlands 8%), while outside the EU 6% come from the United States and 5% from China.
France in the EU
Council of the EU
In the Council of the EU, national ministers meet regularly to adopt EU laws and coordinate policies. Council meetings are regularly attended by representatives from the French government, depending on the policy area being addressed.
Presidency of the Council of the EU
The Council of the EU doesn’t have a permanent, single-person president (like e.g. the Commission or Parliament). Instead, its work is led by the country holding the Council presidency, which rotates every 6 months.
During these 6 months, ministers from that country’s government chair and help determine the agenda of Council meetings in each policy area, and facilitate dialogue with the other EU institutions.
Dates of French presidencies:
Jan-Jun 1959 | Jan-Jun 1962 | Jan-Jun 1965 | Jan-Jun 1968 | Jan-Jun 1971 | Jul-Dec 1974 | Jan-Jun 1979 | Jan-Jun 1984 | Jul-Dec 1989 | Jan-Jun 1995 | Jul-Dec 2000 | Jan-Jun 2008
The following link is a redirection to an external websiteCurrent presidency of the Council of the EU
The Commission is represented in each EU country by a local office, called a “representation”.
European Economic & Social Committee
France has 24 representatives on the European Economic and Social Committee. This advisory body – representing employers, workers and other interest groups – is consulted on proposed laws, to get a better idea of the possible changes to work and social situations in member countries.
European Committee of the Regions
France has 23 representatives on the European Committee of the Regions, the EU’s assembly of regional and local representatives. This advisory body is consulted on proposed laws, to ensure these laws take account of the perspective from each region of the EU.
Permanent representation to the EU
France also communicates with the EU institutions through its permanent representation in Brussels. As France’s “embassy to the EU”, its main task is to ensure that the country’s interests and policies are pursued as effectively as possible in the EU.
Budgets and Funding
How much does France contribute and receive?
Member countries’ financial contributions to the EU budget are shared fairly, according to means. The larger your country’s economy, the more it pays – and vice versa. The EU budget doesn’t aim to redistribute wealth, but rather to focus on the needs of all Europeans as a whole.
Breakdown of France’s finances with the EU in 2016:
- Total EU spending in France: € 11.275 billion
- Total EU spending as % of French gross national income (GNI): 0.50 %
- Total French contribution to the EU budget: € 19.476 billion
- French contribution to the EU budget as % of its GNI: 0.86 %
More figures on the EU budget, revenue and spending:
EU-funded projects in France
The money paid into the EU budget by France helps fund programmes and projects in all EU countries – like building roads, subsidising researchers and protecting the environment.
Find out more about how France benefits from EU funding.