Portugal's EU Presidency to focus on economic recovery: PM

LISBON, Jan. 15 (Xinhua) -- Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa met here Friday with the College of European Commissioners led by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen to discuss the program and priorities of the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU).

Costa said that the priority of the Portuguese presidency will be "economic recovery" to "ensure that all the instruments that were built become effective" and that the EU support funds reach the 27 member countries.

All the EU financial instruments have to be made operational as soon as possible, he said.

In a joint conference with von der Leyen, Costa said the second priority is to ensure the social dimension of Europe is duly put forward in the face of challenges linked to climate change and the digital transition and without leaving anybody behind.

Von der Leyen said that the European Commission will support a fast, smooth rollout of vaccines in the European Union. She also highlighted the importance of the EU's transatlantic ties and its relations with Africa and India.

Costa and von der Leyen formally invited the EU's heads of state and government, their institutions, and the social partners to participate in the Social Summit, which will be held in May in Porto.

"With this event, we will send a very strong political signal: the European Union promotes a recovery that gives priority to the people and their well-being," von der Leyen said.

The previous EU Social Summit took place in November 2017 in Gothenburg, Sweden, and resulted in the proclamation of the "European Pillar of Social Rights."

Costa argued that the EU needs "a common commitment to make that pillar a reality," because the "social dimension of the EU is absolutely fundamental."

"Ecological and digital transitions are changing the way we live and work. To get out of the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the recovery must be inclusive, sustainable and resilient," he concluded.

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