Portugal touts potential to reindustrialise Europe

Speaking at the Olga Cadaval Cultural Centre in Sintra as part of a series of meetings with businessmen to prepare for the Hanover fair in which Portugal is the partner country, Costa said “the capacity of companies to be increasingly innovative” and competitive depends on “the qualifications of human resources” and the “innovation capacity in the business context.” [EPA-EFE/Marcin Obara]

Portugal has “unique conditions to be a great location platform” for the reindustrialisation of Europe due to its geographical position, security, focus on qualifications, and climate transition, Prime Minister Antonio Costa said on Tuesday.

Speaking at the Olga Cadaval Cultural Centre in Sintra as part of a series of meetings with businessmen to prepare for the Hanover fair in which Portugal is the partner country, Costa said “the capacity of companies to be increasingly innovative” and competitive depends on “the qualifications of human resources” and the “innovation capacity in the business context.”

“We have this capacity today that we did not have a few decades ago,” he stressed.

The Hannover fair could serve as “leverage” for the Portuguese business fabric, said Costa after listening to around 10 businessmen who are set to participate. Costa will launch the fair next Sunday with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

Meanwhile, Costa also spoke of the country’s Recovery and Resilience Plan (PRR) and Portugal 2030 setting aside “€11 billion exclusively to support business investment” over the next seven years. “€11 billion is only 90% more than the last generation of EU funds made available to companies: it is practically double what we will have in the next seven years, compared to what we had in the last seven years,” he said.

This is “an extraordinary opportunity that occurs at an extraordinary moment, which is the moment in which Europe decided to invest in the industry seriously, and in which Portugal has unique conditions to be a great platform for the location of this new effort of reindustrialisation of Europe,” Costa added.

According to the prime minister, these “conditions of excellence” derive firstly from the “geographical conditions” of Portugal, a country that, “in this relocation to the global market”, is no longer “peripheral”.

He added that the third advantage for Portugal stems from the fact that the next decade will be “the decade of climate transition” and that the European Commission considers “Portugal the country that is best placed to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050”.

Costa also stressed that Portugal now has conditions it never had in the past due to the “capacity for innovation and qualification” in the country.

“We all know that the greatest structural deficit that the country has had over the centuries had to do with qualifications. Today, fortunately, in the generation that is 20 years old, the number of people attending higher education exceeds the European average: the European average is 42%, the average in Portugal is already 46%,” he said.

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