Lisbon, March 22 (Xinhua) Portugal, which holds the rotating presidency of the European Union (EU), hosted a video conference of EU economic ministers in Lisbon Monday to discuss the EU’s economic competitiveness. Market integration within the European Union has become the focus.
At a press conference held after the meeting, Pedro Vieira, Portuguese Minister of State and Minister of Economy and Digital Transformation, said that the EU market integration in the post-epidemic era has aroused “great concern” among the participants. After the COVID-19 outbreak, EU countries closed their borders and restricted the movement of people and goods in an effort to limit the spread of the disease. All countries suffered huge losses, and he worried that the same situation would be repeated in future major crises.
Vieira called for greater cooperation among EU countries to ensure that people have access to basic necessities and that business production is not affected. He stressed that the participants agreed that the EU must adopt measures to safeguard the integration of the EU internal market and avoid vicious competition.
Margrethe Vestager, executive vice-president of the European Commission, said the Commission was working on a framework for market integration in emergency situations to make member states realise that they can rely on their neighbours in an extreme crisis and that interdependence is a strength rather than a weakness.