Portugal can play a “decisive role”, for example, in energy security, with the port of Sines as a Euro-Atlantic hub and benefiting from the location of the Azores, President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa said.
“Portugal has all the prerequisites to play a decisive role,” Rebelo de Sousa said at Lisbon’s Luso-American Development Foundation (FLAD).
Speaking in English, the head of state noted that Portugal has “one of the largest continental platforms and exclusive economic zones in Europe” and will make “a bigger investment in defence and security now and in the years to come”.
Rebelo de Sousa added that Portugal recorded “the best economic growth rate in the European Union in the first quarter of this year” and offers “solid support for transatlantic relations”, concluding that “we are ready for any challenge in the years to come.”
Portugal wants to be “at the centre” of the European integration process and participate “in the collective strengthening” of the Atlantic Alliance, the “strategic improvement” of the Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP) and the “consolidation of dialogue” between the countries of the South and North Atlantic, from Latin America to Africa, he said.
“And for that, we have the Atlantic centre in the Azores as a fantastic instrument,” he added.
At the same time, “strategic bilateral relations such as with the United States will also be strengthened,” he said.
Rebelo de Sousa also highlighted the importance of EU funds “to advance the digital, energy and climate transitions”.
“To achieve these objectives”, it is fundamental to have “a political system in which people trust”, as well as “a judicial system recognised as efficient, transparent and fair”, and to “improve the competitiveness” of the economy, “to create more jobs, better salaries and reduce poverty and inequalities”, he pointed out.
However, the president called for the rejuvenation of institutions and political parties, saying they “need to refresh themselves in terms of people, giving more opportunities to young talent”.
“Creating opportunities for the new generations – the most qualified generations ever, as we usually say, it is true – will be essential to avoid new waves of emigration and any sense of decommitment, precisely when Portugal will have all the financial instruments to establish a better economic environment,” he said.