Former president Cavaco Silva pens blistering column in Público
ormer President of the Republic Cavaco Silva has written another of his damning opinion columns in Público today, giving prime minister António Costa a B- in relation to political courage.
The former centre-right head of State (who, it has to be said, has a habit of popping up with damning opinion columns) considers that the last six years under PS Socialists have shown “an aversion” to any policies involving the structural changes Portugal so sorely needs.
A few months shy of his 83rd birthday, Cavaco Silva maintains that measures necessary to make Portugal relevant on the European stage (ie with an above average rate of growth when compared to other Member States) require “political power free from ideological preconceptions, with a vision for the future, ready to face obstacles put up by the defensive forces of the ‘status quo’, and determined to realise profound structural reforms, without fear of short-term unpopularity”.
Without this level of ‘political courage’, the former president believes Portugal will “remain a country of minimum salaries, from which the most qualified young people emigrate in order to improve their lives”. A country with “an impoverished middle class, old age pensions that give no kind of dignity in retirement, an elevated risk of poverty, social exclusion and with sub-standard public services”.
According to Cavaco Silva, Portugal will remain in the rut it has been in for many years now with another four-and-a-half years of PS Socialism: “Rhetoric and lies do not produce wealth”, he says.
The context of this latest opinion article comes as regular television commentator Luís Marques Mendes has been explaining how Portugal has been slipping backwards in terms of GDP with regard to other Member States for the last decade (actually being overtaken by countries that joined the EU relatively recently).
The latest economies to overtake Portugal have been Poland and Hungary. The aim, says Cavco, should be to claw our way back to somewhere between 10th to 15th place by 2030 – but that won’t happen, he maintains, with a leader with “very low” political courage.