It was one of the biggest news in the State of the Nation debate this Wednesday: the Government is still awaiting the final decision of the DGS, but everything is prepared for, between August 14th and September 19th, the two doses of the vaccine can be administered to 570 thousand children between 12 and 17 years old.
Prime Minister António Costa opened the debate on the State of the Nation with the announcement that “it is time to expand” the “ambition” in the vaccination process against covid-19.
Despite stressing that it is a measure that is still awaiting the final decision of the General Directorate of Health, the government official added that “everything is prepared” so that “on the weekends between August 14 and September 19, both are administered doses of vaccine against covid-19 at around 570 thousand children and young people between 12 and 17 years old“.
“As expected, by mid-August we will have 73% of the adult population with full vaccination and 82% with at least the first dose administered. It is time to broaden our ambition and also guarantee the protection of children and young people”, he said.
The Chief Executive underlined that the pandemic highlighted the importance of the investment initiated in 2016 in human resources, which allowed strengthen the SNS with over 28,984 health professionals, 4,366 of whom since the end of last year, and stressed that it is now important to ensure their connection.
In this context, and within the scope of the Recovery and Resilience Plan (PRR), it announced that 1.383 billion euros will be allocated to the reinforcement of mental and oral health programs, equipment for health centers with complementary means of diagnosis, creation of new mobile units for providing health care in low-density regions, opening another 5,500 beds for long-term care and another 400 for palliative care.
During his first intervention, the prime minister also announced another 900 million euros for programs to promote “school success” in the next two academic years.
Or “ambitious Learning Recovery Plan” foresees, on the one hand, greater pedagogical autonomy for schools (in the organization of the school calendar, in the adaptation of the curriculum and in the flexible management of classes); and, on the other hand, an increase in the number of specialized teachers and technicians (namely through the reinforcement of hourly credits and the expansion of tutoring programs to support students with greater difficulties).
“In total, between the reinforcement of human resources, their continuous training, the investment in new digital resources and the equipping of schools, we will invest approximately in the next two years. 900 million euros to promote academic success and ensure that this generation is not harmed or irreparably scarred by covid-19”, he said.
The covid-19 pandemic also highlighted the need “to better regulate teleworking and work on digital platforms”, said Costa, and then announced that the Government proposed an “agenda for decent work” for social consultation.
This Wednesday morning, the Minister of Labour, Ana Mendes Godinho, revealed to the Permanent Council for Social Dialogue the “Agenda for Decent Work“, “which aims, namely, to put an end to many situations of abuse and to correct the mechanisms that allow the perpetuation of situations of unacceptable precariousness”.
Finally, in the prime minister’s set of priorities, the execution of the Recovery and Resilience Plan and the PT2030 was included. In September, the Government will present to the European Commission the proposal for a Partnership Agreement and, by the end of the year, all the operational programs to be able to “start next year with the execution of the 23.2 billion euros of PT 2030 ″.
Added to the amount of the PRR, António Costa accounts for a total of 40 billion of euros “at the service of the transformation of society”.
In addition to this global amount, the prime minister also announced 8.6 billion for the “demographic challenge” agenda and the fight against social inequalities; 15.5 billion for the digitization, innovation and skills agenda; 6.6 billion for territorial cohesion, 1.383 billion for the NHS, from the PRR; and 1.1 billion to “strengthen the commitment to Science and Innovation”.
Adão Silva and António Costa, with “messy” in the mix
Adão Silva, who replaced the leader Rui Rio, started the PSD’s intervention in the debate: he began with a compliment to the Portuguese and health professionals, criticized the lack of investment “in the recent and older past” and affirmed that the Social Democrats they are the founders of the National Health Service (SNS).
“We are founders of the SNS, we are with the SNS”, he advocated. But reactions from the left were not long in coming.
“Perhaps it was because of fatigue that I heard him say the biggest mess I remember hearing recently in the Assembly of the Republic, this bizarre idea that the party that was the biggest enemy of the NHS to say that it is the founder of the NHS”, replied Costa, referring that the PSD “voted against the creation of the NHS” and, more recently, against the Basic Health Law.
“It’s a good thing the vacation is on its way because it deserves rest and needs rest”, he concluded.
At the beginning of her speech, Catarina Martins, leader of the Left Block, also threw herself to the right. “I think we shouldn’t waste too much time debating with the right. After life demonstrate that the right has no project for any crisis, the right has not yet been found. Say one thing and the opposite, it is in degradation and, therefore, we in the State of the Nation have to debate solutions and so, as tempting as it is to hit the right, we go to the solutions and the program for the country.”
The blocist also “hit” the Government, insisting on the idea that the planned investments for the SNS (through the PRR) not enough. A mirror that the negotiations for the next State Budget are not peaceful neighbors.
Costa says he was unaware of the order of Cabrita
After being questioned by Cecília Meireles, António Costa assured that did not give instructions nor knew the order that, in the opinion of the CDS-PP deputy, “authorized” Sporting’s celebrations.
In her first intervention in the debate, the centrist deputy argued that “there is a clarification that the prime minister must make”.
“On May 10 this year, at 10.30 pm, your Ministry of Internal Affairs sent an order authorizing celebrations for the football league and a club, with thousands and thousands of people, a giant screen and a procession to the Marquis in the following hours or in the following days” and “this authorization was given despite several opinions against”, he affirmed.
Cecília Meireles questioned António Costa if Minister Eduardo Cabrita “signed this order” by default of the prime minister and without your knowledge or if you signed this order “with your knowledge“.
“Did the minister sign as he understood he should, or did he sign in compliance with your instructions? If he signed in compliance with and direct instructions from the prime minister, this explains why the minister is still a minister today, given the perplexity of the country”, he considered.
In the short answer, the prime minister said he “did not know” the dispatch and gave “no instructions for dispatch”.
CDS and Chega were the ones that squeezed António Costa the most because of the Minister of Internal Administration. Cecília Meireles asked direct questions, André Ventura insisted on her resignation and Adão Silva pointed out that, with Eduardo Cabrita, “there are examples of lack of coordination and lack of rigor”.
“The prime minister said in this Parliament that he has an excellent minister for the internal administration. Thus, we get to know the level of demand of the Head of Government, who reviews himself with enthusiasm and pride in his performance of this minister so your friend“, criticized the Social Democratic parliamentary leader.
Opposition of “cases and affairs”
In the debate, and following successive criticisms of the “disasters” in the action of Minister Eduardo Cabrita, the PSD suggested the urgency of a reshuffle of the Government and António Costa considered that the Social Democrats are focused on “cases and affairs”.
After saying that he heard about “several PSD deputies”, the head of the Executive stressed that “they said nothing about what is really a priority for the Portuguese”
“They said nothing about vaccination, about strengthening apprenticeships, about the decent work agenda or about the country’s economic recovery,” he reacted. “The PSD did not present any alternative vision for the country. In short, the PSD can only talk about cases and cases, but nothing that concerns the concrete life of the Portuguese.”
Adão Silva countered, saying that he referred to matters such as support for companies at the beginning of the debate. For the parliamentary leader, Costa’s argument is based on a “autistic logic where only the autistic governance of the Socialist Party prevails”.
The 3 lessons of Santos Silva (and the barb to the “lazy” opposition)
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Augusto Santos Silva, was responsible for the closing of the debate on the State of the Nation.
After praising the “resilience” of Public Administration workers in a “crisis that put enormous pressure on the NHS, schools and social security”, the government official said that it is necessary to withdraw three lessons.
“How important it is to invest in the welfare state and public services”; refuse “anti-austerity measures”; and bet on the transformation of the economy in order to make it more “resilient”, he enumerated.
Afterwards, he left strong criticisms of the opposition, accusing it of being “lazy” e “monothematic“. The target was, above all, the PSD, which insisted on the “repetitive litany” of the “cases of the day style” instead of contributing with solutions to the country’s problems.
“The biggest opposition party is coherent on two points: changing the electoral system to reduce its own electoral losses or the permanent fixation on calling into question the independence of the judiciary”, the minister said ironically.
In a reference to the proposed constitutional revision of the PSD, Santos Silva underlined that the current situation is not “to question the Constitution, but to comply with the Constitution”.
By last, an appeal to left-wing partnersa: the “Government’s commitment is to build and apply concrete solutions to problems”. It was the motto for negotiations for the next State Budget.
Liliana Malainho, ZAP // Portuguese