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The EU's 2021 plans for closer ties with Africa

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Portugal will on Friday take over the rotating presidency of the European Council

ITS the fourth time since it joined the European family in 1986.

The EU's 27 MEMBERS ARE aiming for a greener and more digital economy

but the bloc is also facing challenges such fighting for its place on the world stage.

Prime Minister António Costa will delegate a large part of the responsibility to his foreign minister

He told our partner Euronews how he hopes relations with Africa will develop.

33" - SOT Augusto Santos Silva, Portuguese Minister of Foreign Affairs

"The added value we bring, in terms of internal affairs, will be focused on a social Europe. In external affairs, we will resume political and economical talks with India and we will pay special attention to our relation with the closest and most complementary continent, Africa."

The last time Portugal held the presidency, Lisbon hosted a Europe-Africa summit.

and there are plans to bring the two continents closer together again

SOT Augusto Santos Silva, Portuguese Minister of Foreign Affairs

"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 batteling the economic consequences of COVID