- Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa said, "It is an honor and a huge responsibility for Portugal to receive this testimony from your hands and continue your work."
- Portugal's main task will be to promote the implementation of the EU's mass vaccination plan and the huge epidemic relief plan.
- In the second half of this year, Slovenia will take over the presidency of the European Council.
At the beginning of the new year, Portugal took over the rotating presidency of the European Council from Germany for a six-month term. In the face of the still severe new coronavirus epidemic, the task of the new rotating presidency will still be quite arduous. The slogan of the new EU presidency, Portugal, is “Start Action: Rebuild a Just, Green, and Digital Europe.”
The left-wing government in Lisbon will be responsible for implementing the EU’s economic assistance program for the new coronavirus epidemic.
Portuguese Prime Minister Costa wrote on Twitter, “Portugal feels honored and has a great responsibility to take over the baton from Germany.”
The Prime Minister added, “it is an honor and a huge responsibility for Portugal to receive this testimony from your hands and continue your work.”
Prime Minister Costa said that the Portuguese EU Council Presidency will have “three main priorities.”
The first is “economic and social recovery, which will be driven by climate and digital transitions, factors of growth, and the creation of more and better jobs.”
The second is “the development of the European Union’s social pillar, creating a solid foundation of confidence that this double transition will be an opportunity for everyone and a guarantee that no one will be left behind.”
Thirdly, said Costa, “Portugal is committed to strengthening the strategic autonomy of a European Union open to the world.”
“It is now up to us to continue your work, with the motto of the Portuguese Presidency: it is time to act, for a fair, green and digital recovery,” he concluded.
This small country, with a population of 10.3 million, and located on the southwestern edge of Europe, has taken over the presidency of the Council of the European Union for the fourth time. This time, it is facing an arduous task. It is expected that in the next six months, it will still be dominated by the new coronavirus epidemic.
Portugal’s main task will be to promote the implementation of the EU’s mass vaccination plan and the huge epidemic relief plan. In July of this year, EU member states passed the largest fiscal agreement in history, totaling nearly €2 trillion, including the “Post-New Coronavirus Reconstruction Fund” and the budget for the next seven years.
In addition, although the EU and the United Kingdom reached a post-Brexit trade agreement at the last minute, the problems after the formal Brexit of the United Kingdom cannot be underestimated.
Portugal will also take over the difficult immigration and refugee issues from Germany. Portugal also hopes to deepen the relationship between the EU and Africa.
Form a Coherent Whole
In the second half of this year, Slovenia will take over the presidency of the European Council. Because the rotating presidency has a term of only six months, the three consecutive presidential congresses need to form a more coherent whole in terms of agenda planning.
For example, Germany, Portugal, and Slovenia have negotiated on the topics and tasks of their respective tenures.
Within this framework, each country also has its own set of chairperson work plans. However, in the face of ever-changing circumstances, the focus of the work of the presidency often depends on the needs of the situation at the time.
For example, during the presidency of Germany, it is mainly dedicated to overcoming the new coronavirus crisis and its consequences.