French president hails plan for Social Summit in Porto in May

  • Lusa
  • 17 December 2020

Emmanuel Macron has welcomed the planned initiative of Portugal's presidency of the EU Council to hold a Social Summit in May in Porto.

France’s president, Emmanuel Macron, has welcomed the planned initiative of Portugal’s presidency of the European Union Council to hold a Social Summit in May in Porto, in a meeting with Portugal’s prime minister, António Costa.

Speaking to journalists at a news conference on Wednesday, Macron said that Portugal’s presidency “is intervening at an extremely important moment in the European response to the crisis, to build a more social, greener and more sovereign Europe.”

He said that he would be “delighted” to participate in the May Social Summit in order to “strengthen the European Social Pillar”.

Costa was in Paris on Wednesday for a working lunch with Macron, with the focus on Portugal’s upcoming EU Council presidency.

Before the lunch, Costa had stressed that France is “a fundamental pillar” of the EU and that for a strong Union, “we need to have France one hundred percent in” the bloc.

In his comments, Macron also recalled that the efforts to restart the economy after the pandemic were taking place in the “uncertain context of Brexit” and that both France and Portugal wanted “things to go as smoothly as possible” in talks with the UK, but stressed that European interests should be defended.

The main objectives of Portugal’s presidency, according to the government, are to have the EU budget for 2021-2027 in execution by the end of June and to conclude the process of approval of member states’ plans for implementation of the EU’s post-pandemic Recovery and Resilience Fund.

The third main objective is that vaccination against Covid-19 moves ahead by the end of the semester and that there is an EU contribution to universal vaccination worldwide; the fourth is to give a “definitive impetus” to the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights, with the Porto summit to be the high point of this effort.

Finally, the government intends to contribute during the presidency to the opening of Europe to the world.