Finance minister in budget barney

Portugal to spend €23 million on preparing to lead EU presidency

Portugal is to spend €23 million preparing to take the reins of the EU’s revolving presidency – for a fourth time – in 2021.

The announcement came in the finance minister’s presentation of next year’s State Budget.

Explain reports, the priority for the six-month stint will be “to complete the Economic and Monetary Union” – the 6th of seven stages towards economic integration.

The last Portuguese presidency culminated in the Treaty of Lisbon – an agreement that has often been criticised for ‘paving the way towards an unelected European super-state’, in that the changes to the status-quo it brought included the move from unanimity to qualified majority voting in at least 45 key policy areas.

Back in 2009, when the Treaty of Lisbon came into force, UK newspapers like the Telegraph lead with texts saying: “Lisbon Treaty: more of Britain’s powers surrendered to Brussels”.

The then shadow foreign secretary William Hague described it as “a bad day for British democracy”. His leader, David Cameron, said he would be setting out plans for “an alternative Tory pledge to renegotiate several parts of Britain’s EU membership, trying to win back control over social and employment laws”.

And this appears to be the moment where Mr Cameron “guaranteed a referendum for British voters under a Tory government if any more national powers were in danger of being ceded to Brussels”.

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