António Costa argues that “solidarity should be the foundation stone of the European Union” and underscores the need for Europe to give its citizens “hope and confidence for the future”.
Considering that the response of the 27 to the COVID-19 pandemic “made the value of solidarity very clear”, the Portuguese Prime Minister emphasised at the closing ceremony of the academic year of the College of Europe in Bruges that “we need a Europe of results, which honours its values and gives its citizens hope and confidence for the future”. In doing so, “Europe combats the fear that feeds populism”.
In the session on the future of the continent, António Costa also called attention to the need for dialogue within the European bloc. “If we wish to be successful, we cannot ignore our differences. We should discuss them and compare our positions openly and honestly,” he stressed, offering a reminder that “the Conference on the Future of Europe is an opportunity to do so”.
Taking stock of the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union, the Portuguese Prime Minister evoked the memory of the former President of the Republic, Mario Soares, patron of the academic year in this European school. He recalled that Soares’ European vision provided the inspiration for the priorities of the Portuguese semester, ending 30 June, which involve promoting European values and strengthening the strategic independence of a Europe that is open to the world.
With an eye on the difficulties facing Europe in the present situation, given the need, even now, to beat the pandemic and overcome a socio-economic crisis that includes persisting points of instability within its vicinity, without forgetting the terrorist threat, António Costa urged Europeans to believe in the future.
Paraphrasing Charles de Gaulle, who, on 18 June 1940, as World War II was raging, made a radio broadcast to Nazi-occupied France, the Portuguese Prime Minister left an appeal, concluding: “Make your voices, your fears and your dreams heard. Be part of the future of Europe. Whatever happens, the flame of Europe [of the French Resistance, in De Gaulle’s words] must not be and will not be extinguished.”