The Portuguese government holds the semester presidency of the EU with the challenge of distributing the 750,000 million among the 27
The vicissitudes of the calendar have wanted Portugal to exercise the semi-annual presidency of the European Union the first part of this 2021, a period initially called for the recovery of the 27 after the coronavirus stakes. Nevertheless, the third wave and the latest problems with some vaccines have included new challenges for the government chaired by Antonio Costa. The primary objective is called the Recovery Plan, a historic injection of funds [more than 750,000 million euros], which each country will begin to receive before the end of this semester.
The challenge for the Portuguese Executive is not trivial. Although the European Commission plays a key role, so will Lisbon through the rotating presidency of the European Council. It is already doing so by urging Member States to speed up their national reform plans. Portugal has chosen as its motto ‘Time to act: for a just, green and digital recovery’ and among its objectives is to work for a more resilient EU, capable of withstanding crises not only economically but in terms of European values and with the social model as a growth factor. The latter is the Portuguese contribution to its semester.
Portugal also has other challenges in its rotating presidency, such as managing the effects of ‘Brexit’ and seeking a comprehensive partnership with the United Kingdom; resizing the Atlantic axis with Joe Biden as president of the United States; relations with all of Latin America; and a Portuguese effort, to look towards India, the great power that can overshadow China.
“A common health policy is necessary to respond to infections”
Reach out to citizens
To get to the day-to-day life of citizens, there are already several projects that are benefiting from community funds launched in recent years, and accentuated in 2020.
“The third wave forces us to implement the plans more quickly”
Among them some energetic ones stand out, such as ClimACT, a project that has helped 39 pilot schools address issues such as energy use, green contracting, resource consumption and behavior change.
On the other hand, Portugal offers one of the highest rates for digital public services in the EU. And to ensure that citizens use these services, Citizen Spots has enabled places where people can go and learn how to use the digital services they need, helping to improve digital literacy across the country.
In other areas, such as the environment, the CleanAtlantic project, also financed with European funds, is improving the capacity of the Atlantic territories to monitor, prevent and eliminate waste.
‘Parliament has succeeded in including several improvements in Commission funds’
European Union [EU], European Commission, Portugal, Coronavirus COVID-19, Economic crisis