Back in January 2021, Portugal took over the Council of the EU’s presidency from co-member state Germany and will be passing it over to trio closing-member state Slovenia on 30 June.
While preparing for a new 18-months term, the trio agreed on its common policy framework for the June 2020-January 2022 period. This involved a number of ambitious actions such as the implementation of the Energy Union’s Governance, the 2030 Energy Framework, and milestone measures towards the Green Deal’s zero-carbon objective.
Over its six-months long allotted time, Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa and his government have committed to fulfil the previously agreed on common priorities while narrowing their action down to specific guidelines in line with Portugal’s presidency motto “Time to deliver a Green recovery”.
As the above-mentioned leitmotiv suggests, Portugal has focused on a sustainable upturn from the sanitary crisis, beginning with the crucial need to secure strong links between the European recovery plan and the Horizon Europe Programme – for which first calls were launched in March 2021 and some work programmes are yet to be approved.
The EU-wide implementation of the Water Framework Directive as well as key measures from the Circular Economy Action Plan were also among Portugal’s top priorities.
Moreover, its agenda has been packed with several key events and achievements such as the entry into action of the Soil Strategy and the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability.
The latter – which had been presented by the European Commission last October under Germany’s presidency – was reviewed by the Council of the EU on 15 March 2021. It welcomed and underlined the importance of some specific points such as the establishment of a dedicated high level roundtable (of which EuChemS is a member), specifications on the “essential-use” concept as part of the harmful substances phasing-out process and the need to revise REACH and CLP regulations to effectively achieve the Strategy’s goals.
Chairing the Transparency Regulation adoption celebratory online event together with the European Commission and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) on 30 March 2021 was also one of the presidency’s major highlights.
We will write about Slovenian presidency priorities in the July issue of the BNU newsletter. In the meantime, please find out more about the upcoming Slovenian presidency here.