On 11 January 2021, the Latvian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Edgars Rinkēvičs, in a video-conference with the Secretary of State of European Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Portugal, Ana Paula Zacharias, discussed the priorities set by Portugal for its Presidency of the Council of the European Union for the first half of 2021.
One of the priorities of the Portuguese Presidency is Europe’s economic recovery through action on climate change and digital transformation as well as strengthening the EU’s Single Market. EU Member States need to learn from mistakes made during the COVID-19 crisis so as to improve the functioning of the EU in the future and promote closer cooperation, the Minister underlined. He expressed support for Portugal’s efforts towards completion of decision-making on sectoral programmes under the EU Multiannual Financial Framework, including the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) funding which is of special importance for implementation of the Rail Baltica project.
Edgars Rinkēvičs also expressed support for the Social Summit to be organised by Portugal on 7–8 May this year. The COVID-19 crisis has proved that when addressing economic and health-related challenges, the social aspect must not be forgotten, the Minister said.
In the context of strengthening the EU’s global role, the officials agreed that it is vital to reinforce cooperation with the EU’s Southern Neighbourhood, Africa, Latin America, India and the countries of the Eastern Partnership. At the same time, they emphasised that it will be of special relevance to build a relationship with the new United States Administration as well as continuing close cooperation with the United Kingdom.
Portugal will hold the Presidency of the Council of the European Union in the first half of 2021. Read more about the priorities of Portugal’s Presidency here: