The President of the Republic said today that he was not sure that European Union bankers had learned “their lessons” from the financial crisis, arguing that European instruments for economic growth should take “citizens into account”.
“I am not quite sure that our bankers and our banking systems have fully understood the lessons of the recent crises,” said Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa in Athens.
Speaking at a meeting session on “Effectively addressing the economic and refugee crisis” at the informal meeting of the Arraiolos Group, which this year brings together 13 EU heads of state in the Greek capital, the Portuguese head of state stressed that it is necessary to “ensure that convergence and growth-oriented instruments take citizens into account “.
“This means developing a social dimension of the EU, but also creating tools to deal with changes in education, technology, science and the labour market in the future,” he said.
For Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, it is also important to “ensure the sustainability of convergence and that means ending the banking union and strengthening the budgetary instruments for convergence and competitiveness”, notably by creating a so-called budget for the Euro area.
“The ongoing work in the Eurogroup on this eurozone budget is very welcome and the agreement reached at the last meeting is a good step towards what needs to be continued,” he said.
The Portuguese head of state was also “hopeful” that by the end of the year, EU Member States will agree on the Union’s long-term budget, which in his view should “satisfy European ambitions without losing sight of the importance of cohesion and agriculture policies “.
“Only if we are ambitious can we beat the challenges we face,” he said, recalling that “Portugal has already expressed its willingness to live up to this ambition, with new resources.”
As for the difficulties in negotiating the next multiannual financial framework for 2021-2027, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa pointed out that “some European leaders would like to postpone a decision until the end of 2020”. “This is a huge mistake, in my view,” he revealed.
Furthermore, in a recent speech, the President of the Republic also referred to Brexit, stating that “we need to work constructively with the United Kingdom, both ensuring solidarity with Ireland and the Irish citizens in this difficult period, namely by exploring all avenues for a possible agreement until the last minute.”