Portugal takes over EU Presidence: ‘Time to deliver: a fair, green and digital recovery’
(taken from 2021 EU Presidency Portugal)
Portugal is taking over the EU Presidency from 1 January 2021 to 30 June 2021, at a particularly difficult moment, when the COVID-19 pandemic and its socio-economic consequences present an unprecedented challenge for the EU and its Member States, requiring decisive and wide-ranging action. We have the vision, the programme and the financial instruments needed to set out together along a path of hope, confidence and credibility. Our rallying cry will therefore be: ‘Time to deliver: a fair, green and digital recovery’.
The Programme is the document that details the main priorities and lines of action of Portugal’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU) (1 January – 30 June 2021). The Programme was adopted by the Council of Ministers on 17 December 2020.
With the motto ‘Time to deliver: a fair, green and digital recovery’, Portugal takes over this Presidency with three major priorities for the EU:
- To promote a recovery leveraged by the climate and digital transitions;
- To implement the European Pillar of Social Rights of the inclusive climate and digital transition;
- To strengthen Europe’s autonomy whilst remaining open to the transformation in the service of people.
One of the main priorities is to implement the Multi-annual Financial Framework (MFF) 2021-2027 and of the EU Next Generation Instrument (Next Generation EU), which include a series of innovative financial instruments for supporting the upturn in Europe, in particular the Recovery and Resilience Facility. The approval and execution of the National Recovery and Resilience Plans will be another priority.
The resilience of the EU also depends on defending its fundamental values. We will accordingly work to defend and consolidate the Rule of Law, combat all forms of discrimination, promote pluralism in the media and combat disinformation.
A central theme of Portugal’s Presidency will be to strengthen the European social model, so as to transmit a sense of confidence to citizens. The aim will be to ensure that the dual climate and digital transition is achieved in an inclusive way, without leaving anyone behind, whilst addressing the social dimension of the pandemic.
In May, Porto hosts the Social Summit which will be divided into two key moments: a High Level Conference on 7 May, with broad participation by European institutions, Member States, social partners and civil society, followed, on 8 May, by an Informal Meeting of European Leaders. The aim is to give political momentum to realising the European Pillar of Social Rights in the life of European citizens, where the central topics will be employment, qualifications and social protection.
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. We 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.
In the domain of external action, Portugal’s Presidency will invest in strengthening multilateralism and affirming the European Union as a global player, whose leadership is needed in all areas and topics of the international agenda. One of the highlights in this area will be the Informal Meeting of European Leaders with the Prime Minister of India, in order to give momentum to stronger political and economic dialogue.
Portugal’s Presidency will also pay particular attention to the neighbouring countries, to the European Union’s relations with Africa, and also with Latin America. Another priority will be transatlantic relations and a renewed agenda with the incoming US administration.
Lastly, Portugal’s will be 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.