On behalf of the leadership of the Party, I extend a warm, fraternal and heartfelt greeting to all of you, to all students and youth.
It is a source of pride to be here and to know that the young communists are, each passing day, stronger, more connected to the youthful masses.
And it is so because they are connected to life, because they are young with the same desires and with the same tastes as the youth, because they are diverse, irreverent, non-conformist and determined like the youth are, it is so because they have the strength, the joy and the zest for life so typical of the youth, because they are solidary as the youth are, because they embrace causes, because they face problems and challenges like any young person.
If the JCP grows and advances, it is because of all this, but it is also and above all because of the correctness of your positions, the coherence with which you defend our principles, the capacity for dialogue, involvement, participation, respect for the characteristics, individuality, differences and options of each; of the work carried out with many other young people who, although not communists, know that it is with the JCP, with the young communists, that they can count on to defend their dreams, rights and aspirations.
We are now closing two important actions of the Portuguese Communist Youth, the 15th. National Meeting of Secondary Education and the 17th. National Conference of Higher Education.
Two initiatives that, throughout today, gathered hundreds of communist students and many other friends.
Friends that we also salute from here. Some of them will become militants and others will not yet, but rest assured that we are counting on everyone for the demanding but stimulating battles that lie ahead.
Here, the problems of education and teaching in Portugal were discussed.
Here, solutions for each of these problems and the paths to get there were defined.
Solutions and paths that are based on the right to public, free, democratic and quality schools, enshrined in the Constitution of the Portuguese Republic. This path that guarantees everyone, regardless of their economic, social, regional or other origins, access to all levels of education.
I had the opportunity to witness this lively, rich and constructive debate.
A debate where different ideas and proposals emerged, some more original and creative, others even contradictory.
We do not dispense with any of these ideas, opinions or proposals and each and every one of them contributes to building the collective opinion.
This lively debate and the strength seen in this hall culminates a valuable democratic process, which began in December with dozens of meetings and initiatives.
Meetings and initiatives where differences of opinion and different points of view were also expressed and accepted, so that now this whole process results in the guidelines for all, the guidelines and lines of work of the JCP, with the adopted documents.
The comrades, for the example they set of democratic construction, are to be congratulated.
Democracy gives a lot of pleasure, but it also gives a lot of work. It is like the unity of thought and action in the PCP and the JCP. None of these drops from the sky, it takes work, construction and readiness.
These are participatory processes that we are proud of and that, from what we saw here today, we have guaranteed for the future.
A discussion process that identified the difficulties that the schools and the students face.
Difficulties visible in the degradation of the school buildings in Primary and Secondary Education, with schools where it rains in the pavilions or in the classrooms, where it is cold or too hot; where there is a lack of staff and the consequent closure of canteens, reproduction of documents or libraries; where there is a lack of teachers and thousands of students are still without classes in some subjects; the lack of transport that forces you to leave home too early or arrive too late; a School Social Action that reaches a few and that in certain cases, such as mental health, practically does not exist.
Difficulties in accessing Higher Education, which leaves out tens of thousands of students who successfully complete Secondary Education, not to mention the many who are soon pushed into the business of private Higher Education.
Difficulties evident in Higher Education institutions, grappling with chronic underfunding, a situation denounced, moreover, by most of the institutions themselves.
In the absence of public funding, institutions burden families even more, namely through tuition fees, and various other fees and, on the other hand, increasingly resort to other own revenues, jeopardising the central objectives of institutions of the Higher Education and cut back on essential expenses.
An underfunding that extends to Social Action with thousands of students whose scholarship is only enough for tuition fees and many others giving up studying due to economic difficulties.
A situation that has become an absolute emergency when it comes to student accommodation and where, according to your document, we are facing a perfect storm.
Only 13,000 public beds for the more than 115,000 displaced students. We add to this the speculative surge of the private offer, which decided to withdraw 80% of the rooms from the market to allocate them to tourism, and finally, the icing on the cake, the PS Government's option to delay the National Plan for Student Accommodation, a plan resulting from the insistence of our Party and the student struggle.
Many students and few public beds, rents at unattainable prices, a government that does not go ahead with the public plan, yet another beautiful opportunity to make room for private business.
Even more serious, the Government has public buildings, for more than a dozen years awaiting construction works to convert into residences, as is the case of the former headquarters of the Ministry of Education, while they are cutting ribbons in private residences that demand 500, 600 and more euros for a room.
And the situation we are facing in Education is only not worse because our Party does not give up the denunciation and due to the resistance, movement and struggle of teachers, non-teaching staff, but mainly of students.
It has already been rightly underlined during this day, but allow me to also join in greeting all those who have not given up defending public schools, all those who, in dozens of small and large actions, in so many Secondary Schools, wanted to, this month of March, to make the students' voices heard.
All those who, in Higher Education, took to the streets, also celebrating National Student Day, shouting against the barriers that continue to remain in front of students.
A greeting that we extend to the Student Associations and all the structures of the Student Movement that have taken the lead in the struggle.
And a special greeting to the communist students, who made a decisive contribution to these struggles and their successes.
A struggle and an action that develops every day, even facing continuous violations of freedoms, rights and guarantees.
Attempts to prevent general student meetings, intimidation in view of the announcement of struggle actions, interference in electoral processes, court prosecution for carrying out demonstrations, concentrations and other initiatives.
The situation is even more glaring when we are starting the celebrations of the 50th. anniversary of the 25th. April Revolution. Each of these events constitutes dangerous violations of democracy, they are against democracy and they are against the Constitution of the Republic.
The popular celebrations of the 25th. April this year and also the great day of struggle on May Day, due to the participation and specially of the youth, their determination and affirmation, gave a clear answer that the values of April are deep in the conscience and hearts of the Portuguese people.
A clear statement and a smack in the face of those who thought they could stain April with their brawls. They thought but they thought wrong.
April is alive, the values of April are alive and full of topicality.
And it is precisely on these values that the patriotic and left-wing alternative proposals and policies that we propose to the Portuguese people are based.
Proposals and solutions that respond to the problems of the workers but also of the youth and students.
This is what everyone should be focusing on.
When what is required is to respond to the problems that we face every day and that appeared here in a very clear way and when all the conditions exist to move forward with answers and measures, what we have seen in the public debate is the permanent diversion of these problems and, more serious, the brutal unwillingness to respond to them.
It is a case of saying, stop fooling around and try to solve the country's problems, which are our everyday problems.
Stop yelling and put an end to tuition fees and guarantee public funding for public schools.
Stop the acting and ensure that the School Social Action is able to guarantee everyone the right to study without financial constraints.
Stop the manoeuvres and bet on continuous evaluation, in order to pull everyone forward, particularly those who have the greatest difficulties.
Stop distracting us and value student participation, guarantee the independence of the Student Movement and the right to organise and claim.
Stop all this and, once and for all, value the teaching career, giving back the service time that was stolen from them and take the opportunity to hire the missing workers, teachers, non-teaching staff, psychologists, this is what is needed.
What the students and youth expect from the political powers is to respond to the just claims of stability in work and life, decent wages, access to housing, a healthy and ecologically balanced environment.
What young people aspire to is a world of peace, equality and free from the discrimination that the policies that subordinate everything to profit induce, and that is what the powers must respond to.
But this is what they don't want to answer. They don't want to because they don't agree with any of this.
A lot of words, heaven is full of intentions and promises and then in concrete see how they position themselves, PS, PSD, CDS, Chega and IL, on each and every one of these demands.
We leave these JCP initiatives with a full heart.
Hearing you talk, with so much knowledge, about your schools, your struggles, your initiatives, which are born from a feeling of injustice, from the certainty that things cannot remain the way they are, but, above all, from confidence in the organised force of the youth and the justice of the ideals for which we fight, seeing your strength, joy and determination also gives us strength to continue the fight that we have collectively embraced for over a century.
Guidelines adopted, CNES and DCES elected, now it is time to continue strengthening your organisation.
Calling more young people, giving them tasks and responsibilities, taking work in unity with others further and, above all, maintaining and strengthening your capacity, your line of action and your own form of intervention, are tasks that only you can and are in a position to take forward.
The struggle and action of the youth can only be carried out by the youth, with their own characteristics and ways of being.
The Party has a lot to teach, a lot of good experience gathered, but it also has everything to learn from the Portuguese Communist Youth.
They say they want to build the dream to defend the Public School and, with the joy of being a student, Unite, Mobilise, Transform.
So, let's do all that.
The appeal that we leave here, to each one of you, is that you continue to dream, to, with great joy, transform the present we have into a better life, transform the dream into life.
The Party relies on the JCP and the JCP can always rely on the commitment of the Portuguese Communist Party to, together, continue the fight for an alternative policy, for the values of April, for a homeland of progress, for the most beautiful construction of humanity, the socialist and communist society.
Long live the struggle of students and youth!
Long live the Portuguese Communist Youth!
Long live the PCP!