Costa promises “an exemplary lesson” to Galp after nonsense in Matosinhos

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Rodrigo Antunes / Lusa

The PS general secretary, António Costa, today considered that “it was difficult to imagine so much nonsense, so much nonsense, so much insensitivity” as Galp demonstrated at the closing of the Matosinhos refinery, promising an “exemplary lesson” to the company.

Speaking in Matosinhos, at a rally in support of the mayor and candidate for a new term, Luísa Salgueiro, António Costa left critics the closure of the refinery in the municipality, in the district of Porto, following Galp’s decision to concentrate operations in Sines.

It was hard to imagine such nonsense, such nonsense, so much insensitivity, so much irresponsibility, so much lack of solidarity like the one that Galp has demonstrated here in Matosinhos”, he pointed out.

Considering that the company’s process in Matosinhos constitutes “an example of a school of everything that should not be done by a company that it is a responsible company”, the prime minister, who is also prime minister, listed three dimensions that testify to Galp’s irresponsibility and insensitivity.

“Galp started by revealing total social insensitivity by choosing December 20, five days before Christmas, to announce to its 1,600 workers that it would close the Matosinhos refinery”, he pointed out.

In a second moment, stressed the secretary general of the PS, the company showed “total social irresponsibility” because, contrary to “what the companies that are now closing their coal-fired power stations are doing”, did not prepare “minimally requalification and new work opportunities and to continue life for workers who would lose their jobs”.

“And thirdly, did not reveal the slightest awareness of responsibility that any company – and in particular a company of that size – has towards the territory where it is located, where leaves a huge environmental liability of contaminated soils, not previously dialoguing with the Chamber or with the State about what it intends to do after closing that refinery here in Matosinhos”, he said.

António Costa acknowledged that it is necessary to make an energy transition and work towards the decarbonization of the economy, but stated that it must be done with social awareness and responsibility.

“And that is why the Fair Transition Fund has to be activated, for us to work together with the municipality of Matosinhos to ensure that, in the first place, those who lose their job here they have new opportunities to continue their lives with dignity”, he said.

António Costa also stressed that he intends to work with the municipality to ensure that the territory previously occupied by the refinery will not now be used by Galp as “to give him real desire”, but rather to develop “the economy and for the progress of the territory of Matosinhos”.

Directly addressing the head of the socialist list in the municipality, who heard him in the audience, António Costa appealed for Luisa Salgueiro use “all the legal mechanisms that the laws of spatial planning put in the hands of the municipality to ensure that those lands areOnly what the municipality of Matosinhos authorizes will be done and he will only authorize what is for the good of the progress of this region”.

I want to make it clear: I have nothing against the company. Now, there is something I have: is that, in this beginning of the transition process, this process has to be exemplary. And who behaves like that have to take a lesson. You have to take a lesson so that this lesson is exemplary for all other companies that will have to face similar processes in this process of energy transition”, he stressed.

Galp shut down the last production unit at the Matosinhos refinery on April 30, following the decision to concentrate operations in Sines.

The oil company justified the “complex decision” to close the refinery based on an assessment of the European and global context of refining, as well as sustainability challenges, to which the characteristics of the facilities were added.

The closing of the Matosinhos refinery, in April, represents losses of 5% of GDP in Matosinhos and 1% in the Porto Metropolitan Area, according to a socio-economic study that Lusa had access to.

The study, commissioned by the Municipality of Matosinhos to the University of Porto to assess the socioeconomic impacts of the closure of the petrochemical complex in the municipality, outlines a “particularly serious scenario” for the North region and for the country, if no destination is given to that industrial installation.

The State is one of Galp’s shareholders, with a 7% stake, through Parpública.