Relaunching Europe - Porto, 1st July 2016.
This summer’s Relaunching Europe visited Portugal to engage Portuguese people in an exciting, interactive, interesting debate on the future of the Portuguese and European economies with the overall topic “From Austerity to Growth”.
In the beautiful city of Porto, a wide array of specialists and politicians met to discuss with people from all over Portugal their concerns and proposals for a better future for Portugal and for our European Union.
The conference was opened by Rui MOREIRA, Mayor of Porto, who gave a speech that linked the challenges of everyday life for people in Porto with the economic crisis in the European Union. We are dealing with the same crises and challenges and we need common progressive answers.
Maria João RODRIGUES, Vice-President of the S&D Group, followed up with a keynote speech as well as Carlos CÉSAR –President of the Socialist Group in the Portuguese Parliament and President of the Portuguese Socialist Party and Carlos ZORRINHO – Head of the Portuguese Delegation in the S&D Group.
They all addressed the current crisis in Portugal and called out for social change in Europe with a focus on the need for investment and more flexibility in the Fiscal Compact. With these motivational speeches and debates in mind, it was time for a more interactive panel discussion between politicians, experts and the participants.
The overall topic was “Less Austerity and more Growth” and there were opening talks from Ana CATARINA MENDES – Member of the Portuguese Parliament and Deputy Secretary-General of the Portuguese Socialist Party, Marju LAURISTIN - MEP, Vice-President of the S&D Group and Thiébaut WEBER – Confederal Secretary, ETUC.
This was followed by a dialogue with the audience and social media participants. Both among the panel speakers and audience there were a focus on the social consequences of the economic crisis. There was a widespread understanding that the current support for populist parties was very closely connected with social injustice and the lack of progressive solutions at European level.
After the interactive panel discussion, the politicians, experts and participants split into two groups dealing with different topics. One dealt with Progressive Economic Governance in Europe, while the other discussed a Marshall Plan for Youth. Although different topics, it became clear in the common follow-up discussion that there was a common understanding of the need for investment and that it should clearly address the challenge of youth employment.
At the end of the forum, the S&D Group President, Gianni PITTELLA, gave a keynote speech, while Portuguese Prime-Minister António COSTA made the closing speech. Both addressed the need for investment to create growth in the economy. They also highlighted the big narrative of our common Europe and the great success of the European Union in creating a better life for its citizens. They also took a clear stand on the need to help refugees and immigrants.
We are facing overlapping crises for which we need progressive European solutions. This is the only answer to make a better future for the people of Europe. As has become a tradition, the conference ended with a tombola to select five winners who will be invited to the next Relaunching Europe conference in Bucharest. Thousands of people from all over Europe followed the debate on Twitter.
The conference ended with refreshments, music and many participants on the dance floor.
See the photos from the event in Porto: https://www.flickr.com//photos/socsanddems/sets/72157670562255676/show/