Costa’s Christmas speech – a focus on exploiting resources on land and at sea
Portugal’s Prime Minister, António Costa, delivered his Christmas message, saying that Portugal is much better but that he is under no illusion that there’s a long way to go.
The PM said that Portugal has turned the page of the most difficult years and is now better, but still has much work ahead, having to win “great challenges” over the country’s concerning demographic trends and the “exploitation of its territory.”
António Costa said there are two essential issues: “on the one hand, how can the country continue to improve and, on the other hand, how we can ensure that more and more people benefit in their lives from the improvements that have been achieved.”
Costa did emphasise that he is not fooling himself nor can the population be deceived, by the figures.
“We have 341,000 more jobs created, but there are still many people looking for jobs, incomes have improved, but there are still high levels of poverty, we have already managed to provide family doctors to 93% of the citizens, but there are still 680,000 Portuguese who are waiting for a family doctor.”
António Costa said the priority is, “to continue the good policies that have allowed the country to achieve good results.”
“We must continue to improve income and dignity at work, increase investment in education, lifelong learning, cultural and scientific creation, innovation. We must continue to create the conditions for stronger companies investing in their technological modernisation, exporting to more and more markets, creating more stable and better paid jobs,” said the PM, with an election coming up next Autumn and a depressingly low popularity rating.
According to our leader, Portugal must “continue to invest in the quality of public services, such as the NHS and transport by modernising infrastructure, improving the lives of pensioners and working conditions in public administration, increase tax justice and social benefits.”
But, said António Costa, these objectives have to be achieved, “while continuing to eliminate the deficit and continuing to reduce the debt – two conditions of international credibility that have been regained and which are fundamental to reduce the interest rates that the State, companies and families have to pay.”
Two further ‘major challenges’ that the country has to overcome, are, according to the PM, the exploitation of resources in Portugal’s vast sea area and in the country’s interior so as to “to take advantage of their potential and proximity to a large Iberian market of 60 million consumers.”
“The second great challenge is one of demographics, which we can not solve only through immigration. It is absolutely essential that young people feel they have the opportunity in Portugal to fulfill themselves fully from a personal and professional point of view, and to ensure a higher birth rate.
“But above everything, it is essential to have a clear improvement of prospects for professional achievement. Less precariousness, fair salary, career progression and the possibility of balancing work with personal and family life.”
“I also want to send a word of recognition to the members of the Armed Forces and the security forces who are away from their families. And special attention is also paid to those who are working in companies or public services, such as hospitals, tonight,” concluded the PM.
Costa’s deliberately vague reference to ‘the resources of the sea and onshore resources’ will have environmental groups demanding to know what he meant as, inevitably, the suspicion is that oil and gas exploration will be back on the agenda in 2019, along with the development of mining for minerals on the ocean floor and further onshore drilling for oil and gas.