Wildfires, economic growth and the end of austerity: three topics for the prime minister’s Christmas message

  • ECO News
  • 25 December 2017

The Portuguese PM highlighted that Portugal had "the largest economic growth since the beginning of the century" and pointed to the creation of "dignified" employment as next year's goal.

The year was branded by June and October’s wildfires, economic growth, the end of austerity and the Government’s achievement of “credibility”. This is how the Portuguese PM António Costa looks back at 2017, in the Christmas message he sent this Monday.

Portuguese political parties reacted to his message. The Portuguese Social Democratic Party (PSD) believes the Government did not take enough advantage of the current external conjuncture and that António Costa has only one goal: “power maintenance”. The Social Center Party (CDS) was glad to see that António Costa started out this speech by highlighting the most important issue with the country, which were the wildfires — which was also the opinion of the Left Block (BE) –, but CDS was sorry to see the lack of commitment about labor legislation stability and policies for attracting investment. The Portuguese Communist Party (PCP) believes Portugal will be left with “nothing but promises” of the country’s development if the country continues to be “tied to deficit goals and commitments to Europe”.

A “moment of national mourning”

António Costa started off his speech by recalling “the pain and suffering” of all the people affected by this year’s wildfires. “It was a tragedy for the entire country, it was a moment of national mourning, in which we suffered together”, he added. Now, he emphasized, “it’s time to rebuild houses, recover companies’ ability to produce and develop the countryside, while returning hope to those communities”.

The Portuguese prime minister also reinforced the commitment to do “anything that has to be done in order to prevent and avoid, as much as humanely possible, tragedies like this to happen again”, by improving the means of “prevention, warning, rescue and the ability to fight off flames”. And, mainly, “to regenerate the interior and forest reordering”.

“The largest economic growth since the beginning of the century”

The economic growth was the second topic of Costa’s speech, who highlighted the end of the economic crisis: “The truth is that this year we will have the largest economic growth since the beginning of the century, companies have created 242 thousand new job positions, poverty and inequality have decreased and the country has met the fiscal goals, registering the lowest deficit in our democracy, which assured we would leave the Excessive Deficit Procedure“.

Austerity ended, credibility bloomed

“We are free from austerity and we have conquered credibility”, highlighted António Costa. For next year, the goal will be to create more jobs: “Not just more, but better employment. That is the priority that we have set for 2018. Dignified employment, fair wages and the opportunity to have professional fulfillment“.