Lisbon takes over from Berlin as rotating presidency of European Union

In coordination with the European Commission, Lisbon will have to continue to coordinate the health measures of the 27, which react in dispersed order to each wave of the epidemic despite the progress of the last few months.


Le Monde avec AFP

Portugal took over the rotating presidency of the Council from Germany on Friday 1 st of the European Union (EU), a role that promises to be demanding for a semester that will remain marked by the response to the health crisis.

With the release of the post-Covid recovery plan and the conclusion in extremis of the post-Brexit agreement with the United Kingdom, the German presidency ended with several successes in matters which cast a shadow over the Portuguese presidency’s plans.

“The The next step is no less demanding, “however warned the Portuguese Prime Minister, the Socialist Antonio Costa. “It is time to take action, to put on the ground the instruments with which we have acquired: the vaccination plan on a European scale and the national recovery plans”, he said in a forum published Thursday by the weekly Expresso .

In coordination with the European Commission, led by the German Ursula von der Leyen, Lisbon will have to continue to coordinate the health measures of the Twenty-Seven, who react in dispersed order to each wave of the epidemic despite the progress made since the arrival of the coronavirus.

A “social summit” on 7 and May 8

The veto of Poland and Hungary having been overcome at the last summit of the German presidency, the Portuguese presidency will tackle the implementation of a massive plan of 750 billion euros funded by u n unprecedented joint loan.

The first priority of the Portuguese semester, this objective will first involve the adoption of the various national recovery plans which, according to Lisbon, should promote “an economic and social recovery which will have for driving climate and digital transitions “.

In order to” ensure that this double transition is an opportunity for all ” , Portugal wishes to organize a “social summit” on May 7 and 8 in Porto, the large city in the north of the country. If the health situation allows it, this face-to-face gathering must lead to a commitment by the member states to develop the social rights of Europeans.

This “central event” of the Portuguese presidency must be followed by an EU summit -India, also in Porto, supposed to punctuate the third Portuguese priority, devoted to “strengthening the strategic autonomy” of the EU.

“Diversifying” the partners

For Lisbon , this meeting between European heads of state or government and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will testify to the ambition of the Twenty-Seven to “diversify” their partners in a context of growing rivalry between China and the United States. United.

If the Portuguese presidency could benefit from the arrival at the White House of Democrat Joe Biden, less hostile to the EU than Donald Trump, she will have to transform the essay after the conclusion on Wednesday with China of a controversial “in principle” agreement on investments. It will also have to support the implementation of the free trade agreement concluded between the EU and the United Kingdom to frame their trade relations after Brexit.

Another thorny issue that Portugal must at least making progress concerns the new Migration Pact presented by the Commission in September and which deeply divides front-line countries, such as Italy, Greece, Spain or Cyprus, and countries hostile to the reception of migrants such as than Poland and Hungary.

/Le Monde Report. View in full here.