Portugal's Presidency: Time to deliver a fair, green and digital recovery

At the helm of the Council of the EU, Lisbon put forward three main priorities for the next six months

Photo: EU António Costa.

After lockdown-mode new year celebrations across Europe, Portugal is taking the helm of the EU on 1 January with its inspiring motto, bringing shine of hope for change “Time to deliver: a fair, green and digital recovery”.

At a time when then Covid-19 pandemic poses difficult and significant challenges to the EU, Portugal's Presidency will do everything to ensure that the next six months mark the start of a new cycle in Europe.

In his welcome address released on the Portuguese Presidency website Prime Minister of Portugal António Costa underscored that the Covid-19 pandemic has caused a sanitary, economic and social crisis unprecedented since World War II.

He commented that with the centralised vaccine acquisition by the European Commission and vaccination plans underway at European level on the one hand and the agreement reached by the German Presidency on the Multiannual Financial Framework and the “Next Generation EU” programme on the other, the EU has a joint and robust European response that “will allow all Member States to overcome the pandemic and recover their economies”.

“I invite you all to learn more about our programme, the events and the other features of the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union in the first half of 2021 through this website and our social networks”, PM Costa said emphasising that now is the time to make things happen.

Economic and social recovery based on the engines of the climate and digital transitions is the first of the three fundamental priorities of the Presidency during its semester.

On its list of major tasks is also developing the European Union Social Pillar as a basis of trust that allows the EU to lead digital and climate transitions without leaving anyone behind. This will be the central topic of the Social Summit that will be held in Porto in May.

Reinforcing the strategic autonomy of a European Union open to the world by strengthening relationships with our transatlantic partners, both with the new American administration and with Latin America, with Africa, with the Indo-Pacific area, and with the neighbours in the east and in the south.

Portugal's Presidency will support the creation of a European Health Union, which strengthens the capacity to respond to public health crises and to produce and distribute safe vaccines, in Europe and beyond. It will contribute to ensuring that the process of vaccination against Covid-19 takes place simultaneously in all Member States and that the vaccine is a universal good, both public and free.

It will be as well the first rotating presidency to deal with the United Kingdom's definitive departure from the EU's Internal Market and Customs Union. With a provisional agreement now in place on the future relationship between the two sides, Portugal's Presidency will work to obtain its definitive approval and then its implementation, so that the United Kingdom and the European Union can consolidate a strong partnership, in the economic, geopolitical and security fields.

 

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