Today, and his Portuguese and Slovenian counterparts will be holding a video conference to prepare for the Presidency of the Council of the EU to be handed over to Portugal for the first semester of 2021 and to Slovenia in the second semester of 2021.
Says Economic Affairs Minister Altmaier: “In the past six months we have been chairing the Council of the European Union and have created important political momentum to help us overcome the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic impact. But further major joint efforts will be required in 2021 to get the European economy back on a lasting and future-proof growth track. I am particularly pleased about the positive cooperation and close dialogue we are having with our trio partners Portugal and Slovenia. During their respective Presidencies of the Council of the EU, they will be committed and ambitious as they shape the economic-policy agenda of the European Union. I will be giving my all to support them.”
The dialogue with Portugal and Slovenia is to be based on the progress achieved under Germany’s Presidency of the Council of the EU and is to help define priorities for the trio partners to pursue. Important issues for 2021 include the implementation of the European Recovery Instrument ‘Next Generation EU’, the beginning of a new funding period for the EU Structural Funds, the launch of new sectoral programmes under the Multiannual Financial Framework, and key proposals made by the European Commission on the basis of the intensive deliberations that have taken place under Germany’s Presidency of the Council of the EU. These include the EU Industrial Strategy in a form revised in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic, proposals for the modernisation of EU competition law, a new trade policy strategy for the European Union, proposals on artificial intelligence and digital services, and a review of the regulatory framework for energy and climate policy, which is to deliver on the adjusted EU climate target for 2030.
Participating in today’s video conference will be Portugal’s Minister of State, Economy and Digital Transition, Pedro Siza Viera, the country’s Minister of Environment and Energy Transition, João Pedro Matos Fernandes, the Minister for Planning, Nelson de Souza, and the Minister for Territorial Cohesion, Dr Ana Maria Pereira Abrunhosa. Slovenia will be represented by its Minister of Economic Development and Technology, Zdravko Počivalšek, and its Minister of Infrastructure Jernej Vrtovec. Also participating will be several State Secretaries from both countries.
Three successive Council Presidencies together form a ‘Trio Presidency’. The German Presidency of the Council of the EU ends on 31 December 2020. Portugal will be chairing the Council of the European Union in the first semester of 2021, Slovenia will follow in the second half of 2021. In June 2020, the trio partners agreed on shared priorities and an 18-month programme, implementation of which now needs to continue.