1 January has not only marked the beginning of a new year but also the dawn of the Portuguese Presidency of the EU Council.
This Presidency will be characterised by the responsibility to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic and its social and economic consequences while laying the foundations for a sustainable future, which will surely not be easy.
The Portuguese Presidency has just released its programme Time to deliver: a fair, a green and digital recovery, which has identified several pillars of action.
It does not come as a surprise that the top priority is supporting Europe’s sustainable recovery and resilience. The Presidency has committed to the implementation of the new Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) and Next Generation EU. Other goals of this pillar include the modernisation of trade and agricultural, industrial and competition policies, so as to diversify European production, external suppliers and the EU’s global supply chains.
Another pillar of the Portuguese plan is represented by climate action. The Presidency intends to prioritise the implementation of the European Green Deal and reduce CO2 emissions by at least 55% (compared to 1990 levels) by 2030. This would be achieved, among others, through the mobilisation of public and private investments, green taxation (with the aim of boosting sustainable growth through the circular economy and blue economy) and the follow up of the Circular Economy Action Plan, the sustainable chemicals strategy and the EU Forest Strategy. The programme emphasises the need to reflect on the sustainable management of forests, the competitiveness of forest-based industries and commits to collaborate with other international organisations to tackle illegal lodging and deforestation, as well as trade in timber deriving from such activities.
When it comes to international trade, the political agenda includes pursuing new bi- or multilateral agreements and effectively implementing existing ones. It will also aim to strengthen relationships with Africa, the United Kingdom, the United States and India. Portugal also intends to promote the modernisation of WTO rules in addition to the revision of the Generalised Scheme of Preferences Regulation.
Last but not least, the Presidency also carries the duty to implement the Strategic Agenda 2019-2024, which touches upon a large range of topics. Among others, the programme commits to the implementation of the EU Action Plan on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment 2021-2025 as well as that of the Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy 2020-2024, which includes the development of an EU Human Rights Due Diligence Policy.
amfori Advocacy Work
amfori supports the programme of the Portuguese Presidency, which is in line with our position paper where we invited the European Union to adopt a recovery plan that is sustainable, inclusive and increases the EU’s resilience to future crises. We believe that public investment in the EU recovery should be used in a sustainable manner so that they not only pull companies out of the crisis but also push them towards a more sustainable future.
If you have questions or want to know more about amfori’s Advocacy work, please get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org, Social & Environmental Policy Advisor.
amfori Supports a Sustainable COVID-19 Recovery Package from the EU
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Action on Gender – Reflecting on 2020 and Planning for 2021
Human Rights Due Diligence Position Paper