On the occasion of the conference of the “Progressive Society” initiative that took place yesterday in Lisbon, S&D Group leader Udo Bullmann calls for a new investment strategy for Southern Europe:
“It was an honour to present the S&D Group’s agenda for a more sustainable and social Europe, in Portugal in the presence of the Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa and other old and new friends. Our common goal is a Europe that fights inequalities, improves the lives of the many, while protecting our planet from further exploitation. The whole of Southern Europe can and has to become central in this endeavour: Here, we find many of the same challenges; for example high rates of youth unemployment or the risk of natural disasters like wildfires or floods. Yet there are great strengths, too, such as the South's geography, its exposure to sun and wind, which are magnificent resources that can be of great economic and ecological use in such fields as transport and logistics, tourism, sustainable agriculture and clean energy. We must not leave this huge potential only to foreign investors, but explore it and make Southern Europe a hub for social and sustainable development. This is why we need a bold investment strategy for the South.
“There is no better place to start this than Portugal. Prime Minister Costa and his government have shown in the past years that there is indeed an alternative to the unfair austerity mantra. They have led Portugal out of the crisis, not by an ever more rigid tightening of budgets but by investing: in its people, its universities, its infrastructure – and the figures prove them right. Southern Europe has a long history as a melting pot of cultures and a laboratory of ideas. We now need to build on this tradition and forge new alliances. Empowering the South and minimising disparities will not only benefit the local populations but the whole of Europe.”