PM in New York as eyes of world focus on Westminster Abbey

António Costa taking part in United Nations General Assembly

Portugal’s prime minister António Costa is busy in the United States until Thursday. With media focus this morning on Westminster Abbey for the funeral of the late Queen Elizabeth II, Mr Costa is thousands of miles away, taking part in a summit on education, called by UN secretary general António Guterres.

Says Observador, the summit is designed to address the “losses to learning caused by the Covid-19 pandemic” (or more correctly, authorities’ response to the Covid-19 pandemic).

On Friday – also in New York – Portugal’s education minister João Costa told Lusa that Portugal “had been at the front line of transformations” regarding the quality of education, and would “continue on the front line”.

This is verbatim as reported. The fact that the nation’s new academic year has begun with all the usual problems, and issues with ‘missing teachers’, was not referred to. It was not even widely reported that João Costa was out of the country during such a significant week in which pupils returned to schools after three months of summer holidays.

Today’s education summit however  is just one of the many fixtures in the coming days. 

The PM’s diary for Monday includes ‘bilateral meetings with the presidents of Ecuador (Guillermo Lasso), and Argentina (Alberto Fernández) – two other dignitaries who are not attending the Royal funeral.

It will go on to involve a meeting of world leaders tomorrow – the ‘first’ to take place since Russia invaded Ukraine last February.

This 77th session of the UN General Assembly has the theme of “Solutions through Solidarity, Sustainability and Science”.

Mr Costa will be giving an address at the assembly on Thursday, before he is due to return to Portugal.

The trip is also involving foreign affairs minister João Gomes Cravinho – another reason why President Marcelo alone is representing Portugal today in Westminster Abbey. 

A statement by the government yesterday said Gomes Cravinho will take part in ministerial meetings of the European Union, Ibero-America and NATO this week.

In a text by Lusa, referring to “a busy week of international meetings”, it transpires that  Gomes Cravinho “will also be speaking at the World Economic Forum and the Atlantic Basin Partnership