‘Absolute confidence’ in António Costa victory in January elections – Olaf Scholz

  • Lusa
  • 16 December 2021

Olaf Scholz praised António Costa's work and expressed "absolute confidence" in his re-election as Prime Minister of Portugal in next legislative elections.

The new German Chancellor, Olaf Scholz, on Thursday praised António Costa’s work and expressed “absolute confidence” in his re-election as Prime Minister of Portugal in next month’s legislative elections.

In Brussels for his first European Council, the newly appointed chancellor of Germany, a member of the SPD social democrats, took part this morning in a public panel debate at a ‘mini-summit’ of the European Socialist Party (PSE), together with the secretary-general of the PS, António Costa, and other heads of state and government belonging to the socialist family.

Challenged by the moderator at the end of the brief debate to leave a message of support for António Costa, the first of the Socialist leaders present to go to the polls – in the early legislative elections scheduled for 30 January 2022 – Olaf Sholz began by saying that the Portuguese head of government “is doing a very, very good job, and has a lot of support from the Portuguese people”.

“We see that when we are there, and I really enjoy being in Portugal discussing with Antonio the political strategy of the country. I am absolutely confident that he will again be successful in this election campaign,” he said.

Scholz said that “the most important message, however, is that it is again time for social democratic policies in Europe and in the world”, and the essential thing is “to take care of aspects of people’s lives, it is above all a question of respect”, something which, he argued, António Costa is doing.

“And so I am absolutely confident that you will be successful in your campaign,” he reiterated, addressing the secretary-general of the PS.

The head of the Spanish government also took the floor to leave words of support for Costa, with Pedro Sánchez confessing his “admiration” for his “great friend António”.

“I would say that António has the qualities of a leader. Firstly, he has a lot of empathy, which is crucial, especially for progressives. And secondly, he is always working for compromises, he is a great negotiator. So I think he is the leader that Portugal and Europe need,” Sánchez said.

At the end of the short panel debate, during which António Costa focused on the importance of Europe’s social policies, PSE president Sergei Stanishev, who also said he was certain that the Portuguese socialist leader “will win elections again in January”, called for an ovation of support from everyone present in support of the Portuguese prime minister, “the first [socialist] to win elections next year”.

Immediately after this meeting of socialist EU heads of state and government, the leaders moved to the Council headquarters for the last summit of the year, marked by tensions in the East and, as has been the custom for almost two years, the fight against the pandemic.

This is the first European Council for Olaf Scholz, elected last week as federal chancellor by the Bundestag, where the party he leads and allies in the governing coalition, Greens and Liberals, have a majority.