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EU Social Summit 2021

The comeback.

In 2021, right in the middle of the pandemic, Portugal, then holding the Presidency of the Council of the European Union, was tasked with organising the EU Social Summit 2021.

Porto was chosen to hold one of the few face-to-face events of the entire Portuguese Presidency, and Alfândega Congress Centre was chosen to host the summit, due to its size and experience in high profile events.

The event was attended by Heads of State or Government of the European Union, and everything had to be thoroughly thought out. The delegations’ security, including in health, was especially kept on a close watch.

In fact, from the first time a caterer or supplier set foot in the Alfândega, all its moves were closely monitored.

Due to the restrictions in place in Portugal at that time, because of the pandemic, all spaces had to be adjusted. So, there were special circuits for each type of participant, dedicated entrances and exits, reconfigured meal areas, and a press zone with all the needed conditions, but respecting the rules.

Dozens of technical visits were made by the government and the different delegations to ensure that all details were correct. The flexibility of the Alfândega team ensured that the process took place smoothly.

None of these procedures are strangers to the venue since it has a history of hosting major political events.

Of course, an event like this has a big media interest and the summit was broadcast in Portuguese public television. Also, that the standards for a televised event are higher, with some nuances that were taken under consideration. The event was so successful that it opened a time window for other in-person events to take place in the country. At this summit, the Social Commitment of Porto was signed between the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the EU, the European Commission, the European Parliament, and social partners, to strive for an inclusive, sustainable, fair and job-creating recovery.

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