On 20th of January, the Portuguese Council Presidency presented its programme and priorities to the Members of the European Parliament, followed by a debate in plenary.
The programme of the Portuguese Presidency focuses on the economic and social recovery of Europe from the COVID-19 pandemic, achieving an inclusive climate and digital transition, and giving a new impetus to EU relations with Africa and Latin America. Portugal is also committed to promoting a resilient, social, green, digital and global Europe. Amongst its employment and social policy, the Portuguese Council Presidency will also focus on fostering the social economy, which includes cooperatives.
While MEPs welcomed with a large majority the Presidency’s priority and programme, they have also underlined the importance of some key issues. Cooperatives Europe agrees with MEPs, that the significance of the European Pillar of Social Rights needs to be reaffirmed, and that the Conference on the Future of Europe should receive more attention. Lastly, Cooperatives Europe echoes MEPs’ call to deliver on the green and digital transition and ensure a level playing field for all types of business.
In line with that, Cooperatives Europe also welcomes the programme’s special focus on SMEs, which are the backbone of the European economy and among which we count numerous cooperatives. The Portuguese Council Presidency notably commits to driving the debate to adapt the regulatory framework for SMEs to today’s reality and develop the EU’s industrial strategy fit for SMEs. As an actor from social economy, Cooperatives Europe looks forward to contributing to the Council’s priorities and continue to advocate for the contribution of cooperatives to the Union’s economic, social and environmental sustainability and economic competitiveness.
Cooperatives Europe also values the attention to the inclusive, green and digital transition, not just in Europe but also in the EU’s external policies. With respect to this last matter, related to the implementation of the Neighborhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI), the recognition of the importance of the EU-Africa Partnership, especially through the lens of the green economy is particularly crucial for our work on international development.
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