Priorities of the Portuguese EU Council Presidency

On 1 January 2021, Portugal takes over the Presidency of the Council of the European Union for the 4th time. The Presidency rotates every 6 months and will be held by Portugal in the first half of 2021. To ensure coherency, three Presidencies are grouped together – Portugal shares the Trio-Presidency with Germany (2nd half 2020) and Slovenia (2nd half 2021).

The common focus of the Trio Programme is the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. In their programme, Germany, Portugal and Slovenia pledge to work on the economic and social recovery in the aftermath of the health crisis. They will pay special attention to issues related to occupational health and safety as well as the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights. Upwards convergence of social rights in general as well as discussions around a minimum wage are planned to be on the agenda of the next EU Social Summit to be held in May 2021.

Portugal is fully aware of the special challenges of taking over the Council Presidency in times of the COVID-19 pandemic. While hopes are high that more face-to-face meetings will be possible, health and safety need to be ensured and plans also foresee a number of online events and meetings.

On a policy level, three main themes will guide the Portuguese presidency:

  1. The response to the economic crisis (further negotiations and hopefully implementation of MFF and NextGenEU)
  2. The response to the social impact of crisis through strengthening of the European Pillar of Social Rights (EPSR) – A social summit will take place in May 2021.
  3. The health policy response to crisis

Overall, under the motto “Time to deliver: a fair, green and digital recovery”, Portugal hopes to contribute to a resilient, social, global, digital and green Europe. Last but not least, also the Conference on the Future of Europe is high on the Portuguese agenda, as the European Union needs to be brought closer to the citizens.

The official website of the Portuguese Presidency is available here.

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