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Portugal Prime Minister’s Christmas Eve message for a ‘decent society’

antoniocostaPortugal's prime minister, António Costa, said in his Christmas Eve message that the biggest national deficit is in knowledge and he said he would continue the fight against poverty and job insecurity, in the name of a "decent society."

António Costa chose to deliver his speech, not from the official residence in São Bento, but from the Lumiar Kindergarten, in Lisbon.

The prime minister said that the Government's priority in 2018 will be "more and better" employment and a total commitment to avoid new tragedies caused by forest fires.

António Costa dedicated the first part of his Christmas message to the fires of June and October, saying that the Government will never forget "the pain and suffering of people, nor the level of destruction" caused by these disasters that have left more than 100 dead, about 350 injured and millions of euros in losses.

"I reaffirm, before the Portuguese, the commitment to do everything that can be done to prevent and avoid, where humanly possible, tragedies like the one we lives through by improving prevention, alertness, relief and the ability to combat the flames," said the PM, adding that the country must also concentrate on "the regeneration of the interior areas and the reorganisation of the forests."

"It was a tragedy for those that lost family members and property, it was a tragedy for the people and the lands devastated by the fires, it was a tragedy for the whole country and it was a moment of national mourning that we suffered collectively," said Costa, praising the "courage, altruism, mutual aid and the great wave of solidarity" that rose within Portugal.

António Costa also emphasized the importance of the actions of those in the affected areas, local authorities, volunteer and professional firefighters, the military, security forces, scouts, doctors and nurses.

He then moved on to theme #2, education, "I want to underline that - just like at Christmas - children have to be at the centre of our concerns every day and that their education has to be the first of our priorities as families and as a society," said Costa.

In his message, the Prime Minister maintained that knowledge "is the key to the future", which is why his government has set as "a fundamental goal to have pre-school education for all children from three years of age" and "launch the programme Qualifica, directed especially at the education and training of adults."

“In order to have a demanding and informed citizenship, in order to have better jobs, more productive companies and a more competitive economy, we must invest in culture and science, education and lifelong learning. We want to build a decent society where everyone can access knowledge," said the PM.

Costa also mentioned measures by his Government to "eradicate" poverty, mainly directed against child poverty, such as extending the increase in child allowance to children up to three years of age, as well as changes in education the adoption of "a new evaluation model," which "is concerned to detect the educational needs of each child as soon as possible."

“We do not want anyone to be left behind. The public school is the universal guarantee of quality education, just as the National Health Service guarantees everyone access to the best health care," stressed the smiley one.

For António Costa, "the biggest and true deficit" when Portugal is compared with other European countries "is that of knowledge".

“The excellent results recently achieved in international studies show the success of the effort, dedication and quality of our students, educators and teachers and the continued investment that families and the country have made since April 25th in culture and education, science and training, to overcome this historical backwardness. This is the path we have to take," the prime minister said.

Costa argued that poverty and job insecurity are "the biggest enemies of a better economy."

"We will have a better economy with better companies and better jobs," concluded the prime minister, in a speech where he also has a special word for members of “the Armed Forces, the Security Forces, emergency services and to all Portuguese who are working on Christmas Eve, many abroad, away from their families."

 

Comments  

+3 #14 Solveig J Austrheim 2017-12-27 12:13
I just want to give you (as government) this ide: Please look to Finland for a educational system that works for ALL ;-)
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+1 #13 Plain Speaking 2017-12-27 12:09
"Investigating Corruption? What kind of deterrent is that?"
I would say that that is exactly the first step to deterrence. Then the Courts decide. What do you want to do, shoot them??
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0 #12 Denby 2017-12-27 11:52
Jack reacher,
If you don't respect the rule of law or Justice as a deterrent then...What do you propose ! ! !
Facts please... instead of the usual rhetoric
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+1 #11 Ed 2017-12-27 11:01
Quoting Denby:
Mr ed,
I did not read any suggestion in Mr Costa's Christmas speech refer to "decent society".
Are you suggesting that your host country is not a "decent society".

To be fair, Costa was talking of decent employment and conditions, especially for youung people but I extrapolated this to embrace his other topics where he talked of improvement and inclusivity. Anyway, it make a nice headline and the Smiley One is still much favoured
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+1 #10 Jack Reacher 2017-12-27 10:48
Quoting Denby:
Jane o,
Investigating corruption is an important role for all governments and ensuring that the rule of Law is observed is an integral part of society in any developed country.
Furthermore, from what I read in national newspapers, is that investigations are and have been taking place regarding white collar crime of corruption.
Some of these case's have already gone through the judicial system and have resulted in fines or jail sentences and other's are on going, but the clear message is, corruption will not be tolerated.
So my comment to Jack reacher remains the same, change the record or at least add something that actually reflects what is currently taking place.

Investigating Corruption? What kind of deterrent is that?Mr. Denby you need to realise that the whole well being of Portugal and creating a decent society starts with government and business. There are too many who have gotten away with it and it's so embedded in all facets of the country'society that Portugal finds itself in an economic mess with an exodus of young talent. Fact.
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-1 #9 Ed 2017-12-27 09:29
Quoting Denby:
Mr Ed,
Thank you for clarifying this.

:-)
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+1 #8 Denby 2017-12-27 09:25
Jane o,
Investigating corruption is an important role for all governments and ensuring that the rule of Law is observed is an integral part of society in any developed country.
Furthermore, from what I read in national newspapers, is that investigations are and have been taking place regarding white collar crime of corruption.
Some of these case's have already gone through the judicial system and have resulted in fines or jail sentences and other's are on going, but the clear message is, corruption will not be tolerated.
So my comment to Jack reacher remains the same, change the record or at least add something that actually reflects what is currently taking place.
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+1 #7 Ed 2017-12-27 08:58
Quoting Denby:
Mr ed,
I did not read any suggestion in Mr Costa's Christmas speech refer to "decent society".
Are you suggesting that your host country is not a "decent society".

No
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0 #6 JaneO 2017-12-27 08:48
Quoting Denby:
Jack Reacher,
Change the record, as this one is worn out !!
I see nothing in Jack Reacher's comment to warrant such a sharp riposte. Anyway, the 'treating other readers with respect' part of the rules of engagement seem to have been forgotten, or are being ignored.
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-4 #5 Denby 2017-12-27 07:54
Jack Reacher,
Change the record, as this one is worn out !!
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