Six years ago, when José Manuel Durão Barroso was president of the European Commission, he called the 26 billion that Portugal could access from EU community funds a “mass bandage”. Since then a new threat has shaken up the country’s economy, and a new “mass bandage” is on the horizon, in fact a much bigger one than in 2014,
However, prime-minister Antonio Costa is clear that he wants to see the EU money distributed efficiently through the country’s different sectors. For now the message he is hammering home is that the money will not be restricted to science, nor infrastructure, nor to companies: “We have to invest in everything”, he said during a visit a textile company in Guimarães.
One of the problems that Portugal will face in the distribution of funds in the PM’s view is making correct choices on the investments that will be useful and that fit either the strict rules of the Recovery and Resilience Fund, created to face the effects caused by the pandemic, or in what Portugal wants to do within the next multiannual financial budget,
To the workers of the textile sector, Costa expressed that they will not be left out, as the industry is one of the most traditional and culturally relevant in the country. He highlighted that there must be a “marriage” between traditional industries, science and technology because “only in this way can the country be reindustrialized”.
In a motivational message, the prime minister recalled that “we cannot let our lives slip with the virus” and that we have to adapt individually and as a community, and that “we cannot drop our arms or give up. It is time to roll up our sleeves”.
However, he highlighted that the path going forward is full of “uncertainties” that have to be “incorporated into the decision-making process”. The biggest being what happens when the pandemic ends.