Portuguese President, PM agree to strengthen armed forces

De Sousa, who, a year ago focused his speech on the memory of the colonial past, dedicated his speech at the solemn session commemorating the 48th anniversary of the 25th of April to the armed forces, highlighting the ongoing war in Ukraine. [EPA-EFE/MARIO CRUZ]

President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa has called for more resources for the country’s Armed forces in a call bolstered by Prime Minister Antonio Costa’s call for budget balance.

De Sousa, who, a year ago focused his speech on the memory of the colonial past, dedicated his speech at the solemn session commemorating the 48th anniversary of the 25th of April to the armed forces, highlighting the ongoing war in Ukraine.

“Why, on this 25th of April, do I speak of our armed forces in the democracy that we have to recreate day after day? Because without the armed forces, and strong, united and motivated armed forces, our peace, security, freedom, democracy, and dreams would be weaker,” he told parliament.

De Sousa said giving more indispensable means to the armed forces “is not right or left, conservative or progressive, moderate or radical, it is purely and simply patriotic, in freedom and democracy”.

“And doing this is not just the task of a president, a parliament, a government. It requires a continued and effective national consensus about the Armed Forces as a crucial pillar of our collective life,” he argued.

Asked by journalists if he agreed with the president’s proposal, Costa stated:

“The president is asking for what is programmed and contracted. It is not only programmed in the Military Programming Law but also contracted with NATO in relation to our commitments,” with the Atlantic Alliance.

Costa warned that there is not one defence budget, another for health and another for education.

“There is a single budget supported by the taxes of the Portuguese people. Therefore, what we do is try to find the best allocation of the taxes that the Portuguese pay. And we have to simultaneously invest in defence, in education, in health, in infrastructures, in improving incomes, aiming at a fairer social policy and a reduction in taxation,” he added.

In other words, “the government has to find a balance,” he said.

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