Michel in Lisbon: We are fully mobilised to deploy the vaccines

The EU leaders will meet virtually before the end of January to discuss the Covid-19 crisis response

Photo: EU Charles Michel (L) and António Costa.

On Tuesday, taking part at the ceremony in Lisbon that marks the official start of the Portuguese Council Presidency, the EUCO President Charles Michel assured his host PM António Costa of his full support during the coming six months. He announced that there will be a leader’s video conference before the end of January, to discuss again the Covid-19 crisis response and vaccine roll-out.

The leaders will look again at all the instruments at their disposal to limit the spread of the virus and to get it under control.

“We are fully mobilised with the European Commission and Member States to deploy the vaccines. It's a tremendous challenge,” President Michel stressed.

PM Costa pointed out that it is the fourth presidency for his country, but asserted that it will the first under the aegis of the Treaty of Lisbon and will be quite different from the previous ones. He also said that after the extraordinary work made by the German Presidency it is now time to deliver for a fair, green and digital recovery.

We want to work closely with all institutions but in particular with the President of the Council for the next six months, Portugal’s PM added.

During ajoint news conference on Tuesday evening, the EUCO President pointed out that the three priorities expressed by António Costa “are perfectly in line with the European Union's medium- and long-term objectives”. The first point is to make a success of the economic recovery, followed by the social pillar and third one is about “the Europe that takes its destiny into its own hands”.

The head of the European Council recalled that the year 2020 was marked by two important political moments for the EU. The July agreement was reached after four days and four nights. A substantial share of the €750bn recovery fund will be in grants and the national plans to mobilise these resources for economic development will be based on two pillars - climate change and the digital agenda.

“Europe is more than a financial project, it is more than an economic project, it is a project based on values,” Michel underscored. Talking about the Social Summit that will take place in Porto in May, he reassured his host Costa that he “can count on all the support of the Council, of the teams that are next to me, to come to aid”.

“It must be a moment that demonstrates the added value of the European project for 450 million European citizens, for their dignity, for their living environment. And this translates into social rights, through access to education, through the fight against all forms of discrimination, against inequalities. This is a moment that I am totally convinced will be an important moment for the European project.”

He also underlined that as the United Kingdom has left the European Union, a new future relationship is going to be implemented, following the agreements that were concluded at the end of December.

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