Time to deliver, with the knowledge that the European social model is the best tool for overcoming the challenges of the economic and social recovery and the twin digital and climate transitions. Portugal will assume the six-month rotating EU Council Presidency on 1 January 2021.
For Portugal’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU) it will be very important to strengthen Europe’s resilience and its citizens’ confidence in the European social model. 2021 Portugal will promote a Union based on shared values of solidarity, convergence and cohesion. A Union capable of coordinated action to recover from the crisis.
Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa took up the mantle passed to him by German Chancellor Angela Merkel. It marked the transition from Germany’s Presidency to Portugal’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union, which begins on 1 January.
It is an honour and a great responsibility for Portugal to accept this handover and to continue the work you have begun.
António Costa, Portuguese Prime-Minister
Handover of Presidency of the Council of the European Union
Time to deliver: a fair, green and digital recovery
The Portuguese début in these rotating presidencies took place in 1992, between January and June. In 1992 the motto was “Towards the European Union”. The main achievements under that presidency consisted of the signing of the Treaty on European Union. Also EU leaders signed the Agreement on the European Economic Area.
In 2000, Portugal’s second presidency sought to define “Europe on the Brink of the 21st Century”. This presidency promoted the adoption of the Lisbon Strategy. It organised also the first EU-Africa Summit. In Portugal took place the Cotonou Agreement between the EU and the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries.
The most recent rotating presidency, in 2007, defended a “stronger European Union for a better world”. It was marked by the Treaty of Lisbon, which reformed the way in which the EU operated. The Portuguese presidency also organised the first EU-Brazil Summit and the second EU-Africa Summit.
Together, the logo and the motto portray the idea of delivering now Portugal 2021, together, to build a future that is innovative, sustainable, positive and human.
The European social model is the distinctive aspect of Europe on the world stage. It was decisive in the post-war period of reconstruction. It has been of vital importance in the way that Europe has confronted this COVID-19 pandemic and must constitute a basis of trust, which is indispensable if we are to mobilise society as a whole [for the climate and digital transitions].
António Costa, Prime Minister
Securing a coronavirus vaccine for all European countries will be a top priority for Portugal when it takes over the Presidency. Other common European priorities are the economic and social recovery, the transition to a greener, more digital, and more inclusive Europe. The need to build a fairer Europe, by addressing the inequalities by the pandemic is also in the core priorities.
The presidency of the Council rotates among the EU member states every six months. In order to ensure some continuity, three member states worked closely together in a system of “trios”. This system was introduced by the Treaty of Lisbon in 2009. The trio sets medium-term goals and prepares a joint agenda determining the topics and major issues that will be addressed by the Council over a period of 18 months. Based on this wider programme, each of the three countries prepares its own more detailed 6-month programme.
Common social and green action
The current presidency trio is made up of Germany (second half of 2020), Portugal (first half of 2021) and Slovenia (second half of 2021). The Presidency Trio of Germany, Portugal and Slovenia has the potential to make a major contribution. It will promote concrete steps to drive a transformative agenda during the eighteen-month period. It plays a central role in steering the EU towards a sustainable agenda and will at the same time be judged on how it deals with the Corona crisis and its economic fallout.