President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa has called for more resources for the country’s armed forces in a call bolstered by Prime Minister Antonio Costa’s call for a balanced budget.
De Sousa, who a year ago focused his speech on the memory of the colonial past, dedicated his speech during the solemn session commemorating the 48th anniversary of April 25 to the armed forces, highlighting the ongoing war in Ukraine.
“Why, on this April 25, am I talking about our armed forces in democracy that we have to recreate day after day? Because without armed forces and strong, united and motivated armed forces, our peace, our security, our freedom, our democracy and our dreams would be weaker,” he told parliament.
De Sousa said giving more much-needed resources to the armed forces “is not right or left, conservative or progressive, moderate or radical, it’s purely and simply patriotic, in freedom and democracy.”
“And doing that is not just the job of a president, a parliament, a government. This requires a continued and effective national consensus on the armed forces as a crucial pillar of our collective life,” he argued.
Asked by reporters if he agreed with the president’s proposal, Costa said:
“The president asks what is programmed and contracted. It is not only programmed in the military programming law but also contractualized with NATO in relation to our commitments”, with the Atlantic Alliance.
Costa warned that there is not a defense budget, another for health and another for education.
“There is a single budget supported by taxes from the Portuguese people. Therefore, what we do is try to find the best distribution of the taxes that the Portuguese pay. And we must simultaneously invest in defence, in education, in health, in infrastructure, in improving incomes, aiming for a fairer social policy and lower taxation,” he added.
In other words, “the government has to strike a balance,” he said.