The Presidency takes place at a crucial time and deals with the social and economic fallout of the pandemic.
- With the digital transition recognised as a key driver of economic recovery, the Portuguese Presidency will strive to make use of digital innovation in promoting health and disease prevention.
- The digital transformation of the health sector was emphasised by the pandemic and will thus be a key area in the Presidency’s programme.
- The Presidency will follow-up to the EC's White Paper on Artificial Intelligence (AI) aiming to achieve technology that is fair and allows for a competitive economy.
- The launch of the Horizon Europe programme is planned by the Portuguese presidency to take place on 2 February in Lisbon.
- Actions to finalise the regulations for creating European partnerships and the launch of the missions will also be prioritised.
- The process to renew European Research Area (ERA) will continue to be a priority of the upcoming Portuguese presidency, and will also be followed by the Slovenian presidency.
- The Presidency’s health-related priorities are based on three priorities:
- Strategic Autonomy– supply capacity in Europe, distribution and production chains. The Presidency will aim to improve availability of affordable medicines, vaccines, medical equipment and devices.
- Sustainability– transparency throughout the value chain information and collaboration.
- Accessibility – fair access to health technologies, particularly innovative and sustainable ones.
- Capacity and preparedness for public health threats and crises will be improved through the creation of a European Health Union and the implementation of the EU4Health Programme.
- The Pharmaceutical Strategy for Europe will be a key area of action, as well as strengthening the role of European agencies in collaboration with Member States.
- The implementation of Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan will be highlighted in a European Cancer Research Summit, which will take place in Porto in May.
- The Portuguese Presidency’s priorities deal with the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic and therefore inevitably include health-related priorities.
- The Presidency is expected to present Council conclusions on access to medicines and medical devices at a health ministers’ formal meeting in June, concluding its presidency.
- Following the publication of the proposals to strengthen the European Health Union, the Presidency is expected to support the Commission in strengthening the existing policy instruments and the role of the European Medicines Agency.
- Digital solutions and technologies are at the heart of the agenda of the next presidency. Acknowledging that new technologies have proved to be irreplaceable during the COVID-19 crisis, technical developments, including AI, are now clearly seen as a crucial means to propel the EU recovery. As such, the digital sector will benefit from significant funding proposed by the Commission, including Horizon Europe.