Together

Large majorities decisions bring us together.

Lisbon has been the stage of unprecedented outcome of an election. A huge consensus from the left wing leaded by the PS – Socialist Party in Portugal – led to a parliamentary agreement that changed the shift of right wing policy and austerity measures that were wrecking the public response and the public services. The economy fought back with this lef wing coalition and its growing near the 3 points and the government solution that everyone considered dead since the beginning is now stronger than ever and giving socialist and democratic solutions to the country, recovering the wounded public sector and giving jobs and fair incomes to workers and families. This week the Prime-Minister António Costa gave an interview to a national newspaper, and proposed a national consensus between parties from left and right (democratically elected and behaved) especially the biggest party from the centre right to join Costa’s Government in a National consensus project to decide the strategic plan for structural investments from 2021 to 2017. Although there is still an huge gap between the two parties this is an example of behaviour that will put S&D and European Democratic Parties in the front row of political decisions. Bring democratic players TOGETHER in order to avoid that structural investments, that will became the main pillars of the countries economic response, stay in the hand of changing powers or wills in each election or period of political challenge. TOGETHER proposing European funds being discussed and decided by large majorities make us more Socialists and assure that we separate public (national and European) interests from erratic political power, or passing by private sector interests.
3 months ago in EU Cohesion Policy
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Before addressing this workshop’s theme directly, I would like to offer perhaps ceremonial but nonetheless sincere apologies for any words I might mispronounce. I will do my absolute best to express my view on the concerned topic in a clear and relevant way and hope that this address will meet your expectations. The very title of our workshop raises questions: how is the world changing? And how are we supposed to define and evaluate the strength of our Union? Do we refer to our military strength in a world of constant crisis and increasing tensions? Or are we rather referring to our strength in a more general way, therefore including social and cultural notions, as well as economic and structural factors? Recent events in our contemporary history, such as the rise of international institutions and the fall of the USSR, led us to think that our socio-political model, what we often refer to as liberal democracy, would in the future go unopposed and thus, that we had entered the era of post-strength: we had nothing to conquer, nothing to defend. But we were partly mistaken and those certitudes we had, those certitudes we carefully built and looked after, now represent the first obstacle that we, as progressives, need to overcome. To some of us progressives, strength is a dirty word, so deeply linked to centuries of barbarity, violence and martial crimes that we felt as if turning our back on this very notion would be enough to gain the moral high ground. Yet, other thinkers from our ranks thought differently and dared express a paradoxical evidence of theirs: the less we’re willing to use our strength, to more we should improve it. Does the Union need to improve its strength from a quantitative point of view? Apart from NATO’ arbitrary goal of dedicating 3% of one nation’s GDP to its military budget, one can hardly accurately define the limit below which strength begins shrinking. But there definitely are things to improve from a qualitative point of view, especially in term of industrial cooperation, strategic thinking, and interoperability of our forces. And yet, there’s still one more thing that I ought to say to this assemble: our Union IS strong. And it needs to use its strength. Not to invade countries, not to conquer lands, not to submit people, but to defend its own interests. We now have to deal with a US president turning into a warmonger-in-chief; we now have to deal with countries considered “western” leaving international institutions and disregarding international agreements without having to suffer any kind of diplomatic or political retribution. More than anything else, those realities are to be met with a European response: The Union needs not only to be strong, but to act in a strong, independent way as well. If not, History will severely judge us: we will enter history books as “the power who refused to be powerful” and peoples will only remember this: we could have changed the world – but we refused to.

1 month ago in EU Cohesion Policy
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