Portugal reveals its priorities ahead of EU Council Presidency

Portugal has held the Presidency of the Council on three separate occasions: 1992, 2000, and 2007. Portugal will assume the six-month rotating EU Council presidency for the fourth time on 1 January 2021. The Portuguese presidency will thus be responsible for the first validations of national recovery and resilience plans. Those will have to be approved by qualified majority, to fast-track the 10-percent pre-financing of the EU’s €750bn recovery fund next year. The Portuguese presidency will also be the first one to be in touch with the administration of United States president-elected Joe Biden, aiming to revitalise the transatlantic relationship.


“A more resilient Europe is one of our priorities, but we need to build on three pillars: sustainability, innovation and the well-being of citizens,” said the country’s minister for European affairs, Ana Paula Zacarias, who is currently in charge of preparing the workforce Portuguese presidency on 26 November.


The so-called “twin transition”, together with the devastating consequences of the pandemic, will put social welfare top of the Portuguese presidency – with the approval of an action plan to implement the European pillar of social rights scheduled for May.


Every national recovery plan will have to include green and digital targets (a minimum of 37 percent of expenditure related to climate and at least 20 percent for digital initiatives), steering the EU towards a sustainable agenda.


Following Brexit, Portugal will also have to establish the terms of the future relationship between Brussels and London – which will be a relevant player in the future of the EU whether there is a trade deal or not.


Additionally, further information on the Portuguese Presidency’s priorities was also published. Find below the priorities affecting the transport sector:


Resilient Europe


In order to have a Europe that stands together and that is ready to deal with crisis situations, the aim is to:


  • Reinforce investment and recover the economy
    • Mitigate the effects of the crisis
    • Implement the new Multiannual Financial Framework and the EU Recovery Fund to deal with the pandemic, known as Next Generation EU
    • Promote sustainable growth and job creation
    • Recovery based on the European Ecological Pact and digital transition


Social Europe


On the road to a stronger social Europe, in the context of the economic recovery, the goals of Portugal’s Presidency are to:


  • Reinforce the European social model
    • Mitigate the effects of unemployment
  • Strengthen territorial cohesion
    • Hold a Social Summit to debate the social dimension of the regeneration and development of the European economy, as well as the digital and climate transition, and further the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights


Green Europe


A sustainable recovery of the European economy is one of the goals of the Presidency. Thus, to attain a greener Europe, the aims are to:


  • Promote the European Green Deal, making sustainability an integral part of all European Union policies
  • Implement the European Climate Law and laws on the decarbonisation of the EU
  • Promote the European Climate Pact
  • Develop European Union transport and energy strategies that support environmental sustainability


Digital Europe


Speeding up a fair and inclusive digital transition is one of the priorities of Portugal’s Presidency, which aims to:


  • Promote European leadership in the digital economy, in the areas of innovation and regulation


Global Europe


Reinforcing Europe’s role in the world, based on openness, effective multilateralism and strengthening International partnerships, is one of the goals of Portugal’s Presidency, whose designated priorities are:


  • Commitment to strengthening globalisationregulation mechanisms, international cooperation and a joint response to humanitarian crises and emergencies
  • Pursuing strategic relations and an ambitious partnership with the United Kingdom
  • Giving a new impetus to transatlantic relations




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