On 18 January 2021, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Edgars Rinkēvičs, took part the meeting of the European Union’s General Affairs Council (European Affairs Ministers) in a video-conference format.
In a discussion about the Conference on the future of Europe, the Foreign Minister highlighted the use of digital platforms and the need for arranging the conference in the most inclusive and accessible manner possible. The majority of the Member States representatives emphasised that the Conference should be launched as soon as possible after an agreement is reached on its format and overall coordination.
The Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union informed the participants about its priorities. The motto of the Portuguese Presidency is “Time to deliver: a fair, green and digital recovery”, and its work will be structured around three major priorities:
- to promote Europe’s recovery, leveraged by the climate and digital transitions;
- to implement the Social Pillar of the European Union as a key element for ensuring a fair and inclusive climate and digital transition, where no one is left behind;
- to strengthen Europe’s strategic autonomy keeping it open to the world.
The ministers also discussed the need for as close as possible coordination within the EU on COVID-19, especially on questions related to vaccination.
The General Affairs Council meets on a monthly basis and, in the first half of 2021 it is chaired by Portugal, the country currently holding the Presidency of the Council of the EU.