On Friday, 10th December, the Council of the EU published its 18-month work program from January 2022 to 30th June 2023. The three Presidencies – France, the Czech Republic and Sweden – will strive to find common solutions to challenges and tasks ahead.
The crisis provoked by the COVID-19 pandemic constitutes an unprecedented challenge. The trio will do everything necessary to enable the Union to overcome the economic and social shock. This will be achieved by implementing the Recovery Plan, notably through investing in the green and digital transitions, revitalising the Single Market, strengthening the EU´s resilience, competitiveness as well as convergence, and ensuring economic policy coordination in line with the pace and strength of the recovery to strengthen the European Union, including the Economic and Monetary Union. In that endeavour, the trio is also determined to protect the rights of Union’s citizens and uphold Union’s values. The priorities set out in the Strategic Agenda for 2019-2024 remain fully relevant. At the same time, the pandemic and its consequences have reinforced and accelerated some of the challenges to which the EU must respond. The trio will therefore endeavour to address all of them. Among the challenges that have emerged, health deserves particular attention. The current pandemic has underlined the need for a strong European Health Union and improved coordination at EU level in this area: threats to Member States’ health systems can have significant cross-border implications.