Priority dossiers under the Portuguese EU Council Presidency

Briefing 04-01-2021

Portugal is a democratic republic with a unitary semi-presidential system of government, whereby the Prime Minister of Portugal is the head of government. The current Prime Minister is António Luís Santos da Costa, from the Socialist Party, and a former MEP who was a Vice-President of the European Parliament between July 2004 and March 2005. The President of Portugal, Marcelo de Sousa, from the Social Democrat Party, is the executive head of state and has several significant political powers. Executive power is exercised by the President and the Council of Ministers. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the Assembly of the Republic. The Judiciary of Portugal is independent of the executive and the legislature. The political landscape is composed of several political parties, primarily the Socialist Party (PS) and the Social Democratic Party (PSD). Other parties are the Popular Party (PP), the Portuguese Communist Party (PCP), the Left Bloc (BE) and the Green Ecologist Party (PEV). The Communists and the Greens are in coalition as the Unitary Democratic Coalition (UDC). Portugal will hold the Presidency of the European Council for the fourth time from 1 January 2021. The last time it held the Presidency was in 2007, when the Treaty of Lisbon was signed on 13 December 2007. Portugal is part of the Trio also composed of Germany and Slovenia. The Trio adopted a Declaration outlining the main areas of focus for their Trio, including democracy, human rights and the rule of law, as well as an economically strong EU based on growth and jobs and the social dimension. Likewise the three Member States pledged to work on the challenges of digitalisation, climate change and energy transition. The Strategic Agenda 2019-2024 endorsed by the Member States at the European Council on 20 June 2019 will remain, however, a guiding instrument. The Agenda covers the protection of citizens' freedoms; developing a strong and vibrant economic base; building a climate-neutral, green, fair and social Europe; and promoting European interests and values on the global stage.