Portugal’s finance minister, Mário Centeno, said that Portugal has reemerged from a period of severe recession with "renewed strength" and is today "a very different country"
"We are on a path of mature convergence with our European partners,” said Centeno. “We have reformed our social security and education and training systems.
“We have reformed the labour market - three major reforms in ten years - and the financial sector,” he went on. “We did it to promote sustained development."
Centeno stressed the importance of the bank’s support for certain investments focussed on improving the coverage and quality of public services and strengthening human capital and social cohesion across Portugal, citing a refugee reception centre that was recently inaugurated and a solar energy project at Alqueva, in the Alentejo region, which bank representatives are to visit at the weekend.
"Different trends are now emerging, bringing risks and opportunities,” the minister continued. “Ageing, technological advances and an increase in inequalities should be treated as a priority for the future.”
These challenges, according to Centeno, require taking steps to promote wider access to high-quality education and greater participation of the workforce, as well as improved access to a universal health system, the establishment of a sustainable pension system, alongside environmental protection actions, particularly mitigation of and adaptation to climate change.
He also stressed the support of the development bank to Portugal’s IFD, its Financial Development Institution, which according to the minister will help finance investments in micro, small and medium-sized Portuguese companies that promote their sustainability as well as energy efficiency, economic growth and job creation.