The strategic importance of TAP can be ensured with a "private partner" that "has the right strategy" for the company to ensure its "strategic function", said the PM, António Costa.
Portugal’s prime minister António Costa replied to the PCP Party on Wednesday that the strategic importance of TAP can be ensured with a “private partner” that “has the right strategy” for the company to ensure its “strategic function”.
In the parliamentary debate on general policy taking place today in parliament, the Portuguese Communist Party (PCP) parliamentary leader Paula Santos asked the prime minister if the government “insists on going ahead with the criminal process of privatising TAP or will it amend its hand” and ensure its public management.
“TAP is strategic for the economy, for the development of the country, for territorial cohesion, for links with Portuguese-speaking communities and countries. Do you really think that these aspects, which are fundamental, (…) will be present with any private and multinational group?” he questioned.
In his reply, António Costa stressed that he has “no disagreement” with the PCP regarding the “strategic importance of TAP”.
“If the question is whether with any private group its strategic relevance is assured, my answer is ‘no, it is not with any private group’. But it can be with a private partner that has the right strategy and wants to execute with the state the strategy that is appropriate for TAP to ensure its strategic role,” he stressed.
In the PCP contribution, Paula Santos also asked the prime minister if he would follow a legislative initiative, presented today by her party, which establishes clear limits on the activities of intelligence services and ensures “the direct monitoring of the Portuguese Republic Intelligence System (SIRP) by the Portuguese parliament”.
“I do not know the initiative in concrete terms, so I will not comment on it, I just understand that obviously the parliament is sovereign in defining how the intelligence services of the Republic should be supervised,” he replied.
Paula Santos also addressed the prime minister to ask him if, since he says that “the results of the economy are better”, he doesn’t consider it “worrying that this is not reflected in people’s lives”.
“If the economy is growing, as he says, why doesn’t the government increase the national minimum wage to €850? Why does the government not effectively increase the wages of civil service workers, with the respective appreciation of purchasing power? (…) The government has the conditions to adopt these solutions, why does not it do so?”, she questioned.
In response, the prime minister said that “it is not the government that says the economy is growing”, but rather the National Statistics Institute (INE), the European Commission and the OECD, and stressed that Portugal was the “third fastest growing country in the European Union last year”.
“How does this economy reach the people? It reaches them, first of all, through the most important way: through employment, employment, employment. We are at an all-time high in employment,” he stressed, adding that income declared to Social Security in the first quarter of 2023 “had increases of 11.7%”.
Costa added that, in the OECD countries as a whole, Portugal is the second country “where real income grew the most”.
Paula Santos regretted that the prime minister’s words do not “have any correspondence with the concrete everyday life of people”, stressing that measures such as zero VAT have not stopped price rises.
Costa countered that according to data from the consumer watchdog DECO and the food safety authority ASAE, there had been a decrease of between 7.9% and 7.6% in the value of the 44 products that make up the food basket subject to the zero VAT measure.