Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa
By AWORI ESTHER LUCY
LISBON, Portugal|SHIFTMEDIA| Portugal takes over the Presidency of the European Council this Friday, January 1 2021.
It is the fourth time Portugal is taking the lead of the 27 member council since it joined the European family in 1986.
The last time Portugal held the presidency, Lisbon hosted a Europe-Africa summit.
The EU’s 27 Members are aiming for a greener and more digital economy but the bloc is also facing challenges such as fighting for its place on the world stage.
Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa will delegate a large part of the responsibility to his foreign minister, Augusto Santos Silva.
Antonio said the new mantle will see more closer ties and aid flowing to Africa to help the continent develop.
“The added value we bring, in terms of internal affairs, will be focused on social Europe. In external affairs, we will resume political and economical talks with India and we will pay special attention to our relationship with the closest and most complementary continent, Africa.”
“During our presidency, we will probably have the conclusion of the post-Cotonou agreement, the big deal for cooperation between the European Union and countries from the Caribbean, Pacific and Sub-Saharan Africa. We also have to prepare the summit between the two continents, Europe and Africa.”
But Europe will face competition to become a key economic partner with Africa.
The UK, which has left the European Union, has said it wants to be Africa’s investment partner of choice.
And the bloc, like the world, is also battling the economic consequences of COVID, though these ties may not dismantle the already strong ties between China, with most African nations.