Every six months, a different country holds the presidency of the Council of the EU, the institution representing EU member state governments. The country holding the presidency plans and chairs Council meetings at the different levels and represents the Council vis-à-vis other EU institutions, often trying to encourage agreement on legislative files.
Portugal holds the rotating presidency from January to June 2021. The programme of the Portuguese Presidency spells out three main priorities for these six months:
- Promoting a European recovery boosted by the green and digital transitions.
- Delivering the European Union’s Social Pillar as a key element for ensuring a fair and inclusive green and digital transition.
- Strengthening the strategic autonomy of a Europe that is open to the world.
Stemming from these priorities, the Presidency envisages several action lines, on the themes of a resilient, green, digital, social and global Europe. Consequently, topics that will be of importance to the Presidency include the Recovery and Resilience Facility, industrial strategy, rule of law and democracy, carbon emissions, tourism, the blue economy, the circular economy, digital skills, employment, and the EU’s relations with its international partners, among many other issues.
With regard to the blue economy, the Presidency programme states that “the Presidency attaches great importance to the development of the blue (ocean) economy, including renewable energies, blue biotechnology, sustainable aquaculture, coastal and maritime tourism, green shipping, and maritime surveillance technologies for the protection of the marine environment. In this context, we will hold a ministerial conference on integrated maritime policy in Lisbon in June.” In addition, given the Presidency’s special interest in the preservation and sustainable use of ocean and sea resources, it will organise a high-level conference on sustainable oceans, to be held in the Azores in June.
The Presidency will also focus on tourism, with a number of conferences and events, as well as Council conclusions on digital and sustainable tourism.
The website of the Portuguese Presidency is www.2021portugal.eu.