Political system

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 2020 were public administration, defence, education, human health and social work activities (23.4%), wholesale and retail trade, transport, accommodation and food services (16.4%) and Professional, scientific and technical activities; administrative and support service activities (14.2%).

Intra-EU trade accounts for 54% of France’s exports (Germany 15%, Italy 8% and Belgium and Spain 7%), while outside the EU 8% go to the United States and 6% to the United Kingdom.

In terms of imports, 66% come from EU Member States (Germany 17%, Belgium 10% and the Netherlands 9%), while outside the EU 7% come from China and 5% from the United States. 

France in the EU

European Parliament

There are 74 members of the European Parliament from France. Find out who these MEPs are.

European Parliament office in France

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 | Jan-Jun 2022