Minister Pedro Nuno Santos considers young people’s fight for the climate “absolutely right” but not their demand for the resignation of the Minister of Economy
Portugal’s infrastructure minister on Monday highlighted the “great support” the economy minister has given to railways and the climate transition and said young people’s fight for the climate is “absolutely right”, but not the resignation request.
“The Minister of the Economy has given great support to the railway sector, in what depends on him, which also shows very well his desire to take advantage of the climate transition to develop our economy, to make things more sustainable”, said the Minister of Economy. infrastructure and housing, Pedro Nuno Santos, told reporters during the 9th International Transport Research Arena (TRA 2022) in Lisbon, which started today and ends on Thursday.
Pedro Nuno Santos’ position follows the occupation of six schools and universities in Lisbon since last week by the Lisbon Student Climate Strike movement, in a demonstration aimed at demanding an end to fossil fuels by 2030 and the resignation of the Minister of Economy and the Sea, which led to the invasion of the headquarters of the Association of Chartered Accountants on Saturday, where Costa Silva was attending a meeting.
Asked whether he considered Costa Silva’s request for resignation to be unfair, Pedro Nuno Santos replied: “Regarding the Minister of Economy, I think so; however, the fight of young people is completely fair”.
“From the point of view of the sector that I supervise, which is rail transport, which can make a great contribution to the climate transition, the Minister of Economy and the Ministry of Economy make a great contribution,” said the minister.
The equipment minister also said he saw “with good eyes” the young people’s concern for the planet and their fighting spirit, adding that he would accept a meeting with the activists if asked.
“We want to have their support and this strength and energy of young people to continue to give central importance to rail transport. If we have young people with us, the more we will succeed in this great mission which is to succeed in moving from the car to the train, from the car to public transport”, underlined the Minister.
The minister admitted that Portugal is “still a long way” from having a “good public transport network” and that it is “a huge gamble” by the government.
Asked about the delays in the Ferrovia 2020 investment program, Pedro Nuno Santos dismissed the fact that these investments could become obsolete by the time they are completed.
“Ferrovia 2020 will be almost fully concluded by the end of 2023, which is the year in which the community investment plan ends. And today we are preparing the next round of investments”, recalled the Minister, referring to the high-speed line, the electrification of the entire rail network and the increase in the capacity of the agglomerations, which will be included in the PT2030.