On 5 January, the Prime Minister, António Costa, welcomed to Lisbon the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, for the first official meeting of the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union. At the meeting, the two leaders discussed the priorities in the PPEU Programme and the calendar of dossiers to be handled by the Portuguese Presidency until June.
At the subsequent press conference, the Prime Minister started by stressing the necessity and urgency of focussing on economic recovery, going on to praise the "extraordinary work of Germany's Presidency", saying that now it is "time to act". Time to act, putting into practice the decisions already taken to ensure a fair, green and digital recovery, which is precisely the motto adopted by the Portuguese Presidency.
António Costa explained that this recovery is based on two fundamental pillars: the climate and digital transitions, which are an opportunity for developing European economies, and implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights, the key to creating a solid foundation on which to face precisely the challenges posed by the dual transition (climate and digital). The Prime Minister therefore explained that investment in training, qualifications and innovation, guaranteeing a high level of social protection, is the way to ensure that the transition is in fact an opportunity for everyone and that no one is left behind.
Ensuring Europe's strategic autonomy, whilst keeping it open to the world, is another major priority of the Portuguese Presidency. On this question, António Costa pointed, for example, to the need to build deeper partnerships with Africa, to foster closer ties with the United States, to strengthen the relationship with Latin America and to ensure that Europe is open to the East, through the EU-India Summit, and also by pressing ahead with trade agreements in the Indo-Pacific region.