Minister Pedro Nuno Santos considers the young people’s fight for the climate “absolutely fair” but not their request for the economy minister’s resignation
Portugal’s minister of infrastructure highlighted on Monday the “great support” that the minister of the economy has given to the railways and the climate transition and considered that the fight of young people for the climate is “absolutely fair”, but not the request for resignation.
“The minister of the economy has given great support to the railway sector, in what depends on him, which also shows very well his will to take advantage of the climate transition to develop our economy, to make things more sustainable,” the minister of infrastructure and housing, Pedro Nuno Santos, told journalists at the 9th International Transport Research Arena (TRA 2022) conference in Lisbon, which began today and ends on Thursday.
Pedro Nuno Santos’ position follows the occupation of six schools and universities in Lisbon since last week by the Lisbon Student Climate Strike movement, in a protest aimed at demanding the end of fossil fuels by 2030 and the resignation of the Minister of Economy and Sea, which led to the invasion of the headquarters of the Association of Certified Accountants on Saturday, where Costa Silva was attending a meeting.
Asked whether he considered the request for Costa Silva’s resignation unfair, Pedro Nuno Santos replied: “Concerning the minister of the economy, I think so; however, the young people’s fight is absolutely fair”.
“From the point of view of the sector that I oversee, which is rail transport, which can make a great contribution to climate transition, the Minister of the Economy and the Ministry of the Economy are making a great contribution”, said the minister.
The infrastructure minister also said that he sees “with good eyes” the concern of young people with the planet and their combative spirit, adding that he will accept a meeting with the activists if requested.
“We want to have their support and that strength and energy of young people to continue to give centrality to rail transport. If we have young people with us, the more successful we will be in this great mission which is to manage to move from cars to trains, from cars to public transport,” stressed the minister.
The minister admitted that Portugal is “still far” from having a “good collective transport network” and that this “is a huge bet” of the government.
When asked about the delays in the Ferrovia 2020 investment programme, Pedro Nuno Santos rejected that these investments could become obsolete by the time they are completed.
“Ferrovia 2020 will be almost entirely concluded by the end of 2023, which is the year in which the community investment plan ends. And today we are preparing the next cycle of investment,” the minister recalled, referring to the high-speed line, the electrification of the entire railway network and the increase in the capacity of metropolitan areas, which will be included in PT2030.