Saturday

8th May 2021

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.

Commission waiting on 10 states for recovery bonds

Budget commissioner Johannes Hahn said Germany, Estonia, Austria, Poland, Hungary, Finland, the Netherlands, Romania, Ireland, and Lithuania have not yet ratified the necessary domestic legislation.

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A group of six member states have sent India a shipment of oxygen, medicines, and critical equipment, as the country fights a devastating surge in Covid-19 cases, spurred by the new "double mutant" spreading across the country.

Portugal will refocus EU on social rights, PM says

Portugal, which takes over the EU presidency next month, will play a key role in making sure the €750bn coronavirus recovery fund - which was unblocked by EU leaders last week - takes off.

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