PAULO VAZ HENRIQUES/GABINETE PRIMEIRO-MINISTRO/LUSA

PM’s Christmas message: ‘2020 has been a year of combat, pain and resistance’

Portugal’s prime minister on Friday expressed hope for Portugal’s recovery and expressed gratitude to health professionals fighting COVID-19.

“We are experiencing the greatest challenge of our lives,” António Costa said in his Christmas message to the nation. “2020 has been a year of combat, pain and resistance.”

Costa was optimistic about the coming new year, pointing out that vaccination would begin on Sunday. Although it will be a phased and prolonged process, it “gives renewed confidence that, thanks to science, it is even possible to quell this pandemic,” he pointed out.

Costa also noted that next year the country would count on the European Union’s “enhanced solidarity” to initiate a sustained recovery. 

“We have defined a strategic vision for the future of Portugal and we now have the means to achieve it, thus opening the horizon of a fairer, more prosperous, more modern country for new generations,” Costa went on. 

Costa said it was an “an enormous honor” for him to be at the service of the country and expressed his gratitude to the Portuguese for their “ability to adapt and sacrifice, for their determination and discipline, and their civic responsibility, with which they have collectively faced this pandemic. “

Covid-19, according to the Prime Minister, “completely transformed” people’s lives and any success in containing the pandemic was due to the country’s citizens.

He called for everyone to continue to comply with the country’s health and safety rules and to adopt behaviours “decisive in saving lives,” while also expressing his gratitude to “those who provide assistance to those who need it the most” and to “all those who, uninterruptedly since March, have kept the country running and who, in agriculture, industry and commerce, have guaranteed that nothing essential has lacked.”

Costa highlighted his gratitude to health professionals, who he said “day and night do their best to treat those who are sick, so often with sacrifice of breaks, rest time and contact with their own family.” 

The Prime Minister also sent a message of solidarity to families who were grieving the loss of loved ones due to the virus.

Acknowledging the “serious economic and social consequences” resulting from the pandemic, Costa said he was aware “of the harshness of many of the measures” that his Government had to adopt throughout this year.

“I am well aware of the profound impact of these measures on the lives of all of us: on our social lives, which we had to give up; on the affections that we were unable to manifest, especially in the elderly; on the emotional stability of many people in isolation; and also on the economy, with so many entrepreneurs fighting for the survival of their companies and so many workers who lost or fear losing their jobs and income,” he said.

However, the government has tried to respond to the consequences of the pandemic “with balance and common sense, learning day by day to deal with the new and to permanently adapt to the unexpected,” he assured.

“We certainly did not do everything well and made mistakes, because only those who do not do not make mistakes. But we did not haggle, nor will we haggle, with our resources and with the European Union, to fight the pandemic and alleviate the suffering of the Portuguese,” he promised.