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10th Dec 2023

Agenda

Social affairs and India in focus This WEEK

  • EU leaders are expected to meet in Porto for an informal summit to discuss social issues (Photo: EUobserver)

As the EU prepares to roll out vaccine certificates for the summer, and as member states put forward their plans for a post-pandemic economic recovery, EU leaders' attention will turn towards the social impact of the Covid-19 outbreak.

The Portuguese EU presidency has been keen to put social affairs back on the main agenda of the bloc, and are organising a social summit on Friday (7 May).

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  • O Saturday, the 27 heads of state or government will have a videoconference with the Indian prime minister Narendra Modi (Photo: Foreign and Commonwealth Office)

The aim is to refocus efforts on the so-called social pillar of the EU, tackle unemployment, training, social protection, and poverty.

The social summit will take place in Porto, where then on Saturday EU leaders are expected to gather for an informal summit.

Leaders will look at the EU Commission's action plan, which sets three targets for 2030.

These are reaching an employment rate of at least 78 percent in the EU, getting at least 60 percent of adults to attend training courses every year, a reduction in the number of people at risk of social exclusion or poverty by at least 15 million people, including five million children.

Leaders will also discuss how to support young people who have been hit by the Covid-19 crisis.

Later on Saturday, the 27 heads of state or government will have a videoconference with the Indian prime minister Narendra Modi.

Besides trade and climate change, the discussion will focus on the pandemic, as India is battling an unprecedented new wave of Covid-19 infections.

Recovery plans

In the meantime, member state governments are putting forward their own national plans on how to use the EU's almost €800bn recovery fund.

The deadline for submitting plans was the end of April, but some governments will need some more time to hammer out details.

The commission will then have two months to analyse the plans and put forward recommendations to the 27 governments.

The commission - including this weekend - received a total of 13 recovery plans, from Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Spain, France, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Austria, Portugal, Slovenia, and Slovakia.

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Opinion

How should EU reform the humanitarian aid system?

The example of Ukraine illustrates that donors like the EU should be more ambitious about the localisation of aid. And this funding to local actors needs to be predictable, flexible, and longer than the typical one-year funding cycle.

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