President Marcelo has been in Slovenia today – the country due to take over the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union when Portugal completes its ‘difficult’ six month tenure at the end of June. His focus, once again, has been on reinforcing the message that it’s time to leave the pandemic behind and focus on the future.
In a speech in which he managed to combine multiple messages, the head of State stressed that Portuguese want “a balanced exit” from the pandemic, “without alarm”; without artificial methods to make things easy. But with the prospect that after a year and a half society and the economy can be allowed to start breathing again.
Life and health are important, he said. But then so are the economy and society.
“Portuguese people as well as Europeans want economies to restart. They want more justice and social balance. They want tourism that was stalled for more than a year to return; a lot of commerce; a lot of services; economic relations between countries and the rebooting of their personal lives, of everyone’s lives”, he said.
“No other crisis has been equal to this one” and as such getting out of it will be difficult. This is a moment of transition – for the whole of Europe.
His speech came on the day the European Commission has proposed that vaccinated people should be allowed to travel freely across the bloc without taking PCR tests. It’s another indication that authorities are trying to reduce restrictions.
For the last 18 months focus has been totally on ‘surviving the pandemic’, said Marcelo. People need to be able to dream again, and about a great deal more than simply staying alive, and keeping their loved ones healthy.
Admitting the Portuguese presidency has been fraught with difficulties (almost totally due to the pandemic), Marcelo predicted Slovenia’s tenure will be one “full of success”.