Portugal holds the Presidency of the
Council of the European Union from 1st January to 30th June 2021. The motto of
the Portuguese Council Presidency is: "Time to deliver: a fair, green and
The programme focuses on recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic
and its socio-economic consequences. The Council Presidency has declared its
intention of taking decisive and far-reaching action.
Recovery, social rights and strategic autonomy
The Council Presidency wishes to address
three priorities, in particular:
- Europe's recovery, supported by climate and digital
- Implementing the European Pillar of Social Rights as a key
element in ensuring fair inclusive climate and digital transformation
- Strengthening Europe's strategic autonomy while
remaining open to the world.
These three priorities are to be pursued in five fields of action: a - resilient - green - digital - social and
- global - Europe.
For a resilient Europe, Portugal wants to
push ahead with the implementation of the new Multi-annual Financial Framework
(2021-2027) and the "NextGenerationEU" instrument with its reconstruction
and resilience facilities. Portugal wants to hold a high-level conference on
recovery in June. There, the economic and financial situation will be addressed
against the background of the national reconstruction and resilience plans.
The EU shall also take a leading role in
climate protection and digital transformation. The Portuguese Council
Presidency wishes to promote the general development of digital skills,
particularly with regard to the teleworking processes now in use. A European
data platform is to be strategically established for Europe's digital
independence: submarine cables are to be laid to connect Europe with Africa and
The Portuguese Council Presidency wants to
upgrade and strengthen the European social model. This is seen as the only way to
counteract the socio-economic consequences of the pandemic. The implementation
of the European Pillar of Social Rights should give it a concrete meaning in
the lives of EU citizens.
As part of this, the Portuguese Council Presidency
is organising a social summit in May in Porto. The focus should be on employment, skills
and social protection. The summit is intended to advance topics arising
especially from the EU Commission's action plan for implementing the European
Pillar of Social Rights. The action plan is due to be published in the coming
Portugal wishes to develop a European
framework for action in the field of healthcare. The aim is a European health
union. By implementing the "EU4Health" healthcare programme, the Council
Presidency aims to counter the consequences of the pandemic and the resulting
pressure on healthcare systems.
The "Portugal eHealth summit"
will be held in June and it will cover digital issues such as telemedicine and
the interoperability of health records. Other priorities of the Council
Presidency are the availability of medicines and access to them as well as the
European Cancer Plan: a conference on access to medicines will be held in April
and the European cancer research summit will be held in May.
It remains to be seen which projects can be
implemented within the next six months. It can be assumed that some of them
will at least extend into the subsequent Slovenian Council Presidency. From
July 2021, Slovenia will take over the Council Presidency as the third country
in the current presidency trio of Germany - Portugal - Slovenia.