Portugal's new government inaugurated

World Sunday 27/October/2019 13:51 PM
By: Times News Service
Portugal's new government inaugurated

Lisbon: Portugal's new government was sworn in on Saturday morning by President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa here in the Ajuda National Palace.

Prime Minister Antonio Costa, together with 69 members of the government, including 19 ministers and 50 secretaries of state, attended the inauguration ceremony.

Antonio Costa, who is also general secretary of Portuguese Socialist Party (PS), formed yet again a minority government after leading his party to a victory in the national elections earlier this month and winning 108 seats in the 230-member Assembly of Republic. Most of the members of the previous government kept their portfolios.

During the inauguration ceremony, Rebelo de Sousa said the previous government has surpassed all the expectations, but warned that the new Costa government will face more challenges.

"The task that awaits you is not easy. Today's Europe and the World are different, more complex, and more unpredictable," said the president, warning that the Portuguese expectations are now higher, with the new government having fewer resources to meet those expectations.

Acknowledging that Costa's previous government achieved most of the goals it has set itself, Rebelo de Sousa alerted the new government for the existence of some goals that were left to achieve, namely, the campaign against corruption, the durability of growth and the balance of external accounts, the achievement of more pay equity and a bigger access to social infrastructures and systems.

"It will be necessary to act with humility in serving, with impartiality and perseverance,... with proximity to the Portuguese, which prevents the sense of distance between those who govern and those who are the raison d'être of this government," he added.

Costa, on his part, highlighted in his inauguration speech the achievements of the last four years - the "continuous growth," the lowest deficit rate in the country's recent history, the employment growth and the regaining of credibility at the international level.

Costa acknowledged the difficulties the new government must face ahead.

"Portugal is, hopefully, a total different country from it was four years ago. But governance is even more demanding as the Portuguese demand that we do more and better," he said.

"It's not enough to grow. It is needed at least a decade of economic and social convergence with the EU (European Union). It's not enough to reduce the deficit. It's also needed to cut the public debt to below 100 percent of GDP," said the prime minister, presenting his government as one "for the good times and the bad".

According to Costa, the priority areas for his government in the next four years will be climate change, demographic sustainability, digital transition and fighting inequalities.

He pledged to increase the minimum monthly wage to 750 euros by 2023, and increase the Solidarity Complement for the elderly.

Costa also stressed that the country needs stability to face the challenges ahead. (one euro currently equals to 1.11 U.S. dollars)