NIn a debate in the Assembly of the Republic on the State of the Union speech, delivered by the President of the European Commission on 15 September, Augusto Santos Silva highlighted that his assessment of the past year is a “very positive assessment, namely in the assembly of the process of vaccination “and on” betting on a process of reviving the economy as quickly as possible”.
According to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Portugal, due to the presidency of the Council of the European Union that took place in the first half of this year, “contributed a lot to this positive balance”, listing different aspects in which the country contracted for the European Union to progress.
With regard to the fight against the pandemic, the Minister of Foreign Affairs stressed that the Portuguese presidency, through the approval of the covid-19 digital certificate, concluded “the fastest ever approval of a legislative process in the EU”, and also carried out a decisive role in “coordinating policies to combat the pandemic in the 27 Member States and in launching the European Union for health”.
On the economic recovery, Santos Silva recalled that the presidency approved “all the indispensable regulations for the Multiannual Financial Framework, the approval of the regulation of the instrument of Recovery and Resilience, the ratification in all member states of the decision on own resources of the Union, and the approval of the first Recovery and Resilience Plans”.
Addressing the announcements made by Ursula von der Leyen, the Minister of Foreign Affairs stresses that “Portugal values many of the central elements” of the Commission President’s speech, starting by highlighting the launch of the exchange program for young professionals between Member States, entitled SOUL.
In a second moment, Santos Silva also highlighted the importance given by the president of the European Commission to “supporting vaccination around the world”, stressing that the commitments announced – namely the investment of one billion euros in resources for the production of vaccines in Africa, the new commitment to donate 200 million vaccines to developing countries, to which it adds 250 million previously announced – allows the EU to honor “as its own responsibilities in contributing to the universalization of vaccination”.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs also valued “determination in the climate agenda, and above all the awareness that this transition, to be successful, must be founded on the European pillar of social rights”.
Still referring to the “importance of the theme of sober technology in Europe”, namely the new legislative act announced by Von der Leyen that will allow to overcome the “current difficulties in supply” for the industrial production of semiconductors, Santos Silva chose referring that “Europe has to have its own global connectivity strategy “and to be a” global player “in” the field of infrastructure, transport and communications”.
During the debate, deputies addressed different points concerning the state of the Union, with the BE, PCP and PEV one denouncing the “militarist delusion” of the EU – due to the fact that Von der Leyen stressed the need to develop a European Union of Defense -, through the lack of support in the Recovery and Resilience Plan for small and medium-sized companies addressed by the PSD, or even the increase in salient energy by the CDS, IL and Chega.
In response, Augusto Santos Silva recalled that Member States will debate the European Defense Union within the scope of the Strategic Compass discussion, and in the Development of NATO’s New Strategic Concept.
“Portugal (…) is in favor of reinforced cooperation in the area of defence, but it is not in favor of the creation of European armies, or of a Europeanization of a policy that is, in the first place, a policy of national sovereignty” , stressed.
Not referring to support for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), Santos Silva stresses that its importance is present in the Portuguese PRR and recalled that the “position of Portugal” has “always been” to insist on the primacy of SMEs within the scope of European policies.
“We are firm and constant opponents of this dangerous idea of ’European champions’, that is, of large companies, supposedly the only ones that could win in the global geo-economic competition”, he stressed.
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