Ahead of the six-month Portuguese presidency of the European Union, starting on 1 January 2021, the president of the European Parliament and the parliamentary group leaders met this morning with Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa and six Portuguese ministers.
The S&Ds called on the Hungarian and Polish governments to accept the rule of law mechanism and to allow for the next seven-year European budget and the Recovery Plan to be adopted as soon as possible.
Following the meeting, Iratxe García said:
“I am confident that the Portuguese presidency will be an opportunity to show that we can overcome the socio-economic crisis created by the Covid-19 pandemic with policies based on solidarity, and taking care of the most vulnerable. The Portuguese government led by António Costa already proved that austerity doesn’t work, with its humane management of the 2008 financial crisis.
“The five goals of the Portuguese presidency are also the main goals of the S&D Group: strengthening Europe’s economic resilience, based on solidarity and preparedness; advancing the social pillar, both reinforcing public policies against poverty, fostering job creation and strengthening health systems; accelerating a fair digital transition; a sustainable transition towards a green economy while leaving no one behind; and rebuilding multilateralism and international partnerships.
“Our political family remains firm in the defence of the rule of law, and we want the agreement reached by the Parliament, Commission and Council to be respected. The only doubts and opposition to the deal come from the right wing, because they cannot stand united and must solve their internal problems.
“In order to successfully achieve the ambitious agenda presented by the Portuguese presidency we need the European budget adopted as soon as possible. I hope that the EPP and ECR MEPs can persuade the Hungarian, Polish and Slovenian governments to accept the rule of law mechanism and unblock the funds.”
Head of the Portuguese delegation to the S&D Group, Carlos Zorrinho MEP, said:
“The Portuguese Delegation in the S&D, together with the leadership of the Group, will strongly and actively support the next EU presidency.
“We will be committed to strengthening the social dimension of the European project, by ensuring that the ecological and the digital transitions have a strong ‘red heart’ at its core. We need to combine and reinforce these priorities in order to overcome the current crisis and build the path for a more resilient and sustainable future.
“We welcome, and are ready to support, the Portuguese presidency plans to better place the EU in the international arena, as a global leader and multilateral power. The reestablishment of the good and historical transatlantic relations with the new US administration and the foreseen Summits with Africa and India are extremely important to achieve these goals.
“We will be fighting together to implement a rapid and effective response to the pandemic, which has to include better coordination between member states and the implementation of a fair and efficient vaccination plan at EU level.”