Speech by João Oliveira, 1st. CDU candidate for the European Parliament, Statement by the 1st. candidate on the CDU slate to the European Parliament

It is now that we decide on the strength of the voice heard in defence of the rights of the workers and peoples of Europe

We head to the European Parliament's electoral battle aware of the difficulties and dangers that the people and the country face, but also with the determination of those who fight on all fronts for the rights of the people and for national sovereignty and independence, in defence of a Europe of cooperation between sovereign states equal in rights, of social progress and peace.

We move ahead with the confidence of those who consider the work carried out towards these aims to be the best argument for voting and reinforcing their struggle.

We move ahead with the certainty that the Democratic, Developed and Sovereign Portugal for which we fight is within the reach of the action and struggle of the Portuguese people and that the strengthening of the CDU is fundamental to this path.

The choices to be made in these elections for the European Parliament cannot be dissociated from the national problems. On the contrary, they are choices that have to be made critically reflecting on the path that led Portugal to the difficult situation it is experiencing and with our eyes set on the alternative that the country needs, facing right-wing policies and overcoming hurdles, limitations and constraints, including those imposed on us by the European Union.

The choices to be made in these elections cannot be dissociated from the international situation, especially in the European Union. On the contrary, we must be aware that it will be necessary to join forces among the peoples to stop militarism and war, to make peace prevail, to achieve a path of progress and social justice, to counter the rise of anti-democratic, reactionary forces, of a fascist nature and defeat their hate speech and policies of regression, injustices and inequalities at the service of big capital, policies that they aim to heighten.

These are decisive questions for the choices that need to be made in these elections.

It is now that we decide whether, in the next five years, there will be more or fewer MPs in the European Parliament who are knowledgeable about the national reality, who are with the workers and the people, concerned about their problems and intervening to solve them.

It is now that we decide on the strength of the voice heard in defence of the rights of the workers and peoples of Europe, including the right of the Portuguese people to a path of sovereign development.

It is now that we decide the strength with which peace will be defended, against militarism, confrontation and war.

It is now that we decide whether environmental issues will continue to be a mere pretext for “green business” or whether they will be seriously seen as inseparable from economic and social issues.

It is now that we decide on the force that the Portuguese people will count on in the coming years to fight reactionary and retrograde concepts, projects and forces, including the extreme right.

These reasons make the CDU the decisive force, makes the vote on the CDU a vote of courage for a democratic and developed Portugal in a Europe of peace, sovereignty, social progress and cooperation among all peoples.

We are celebrating the 50th. anniversary of the 25th. of April and the 48th. anniversary of the adoption of the Constitution of the Portuguese Republic, which gave constitutional expression to the advances and achievements of the April Revolution and enshrined the project of building a new society.

The April Revolution was a unique moment in national history with transformations, achievements, advances and the achievement of rights that opened up the real prospect of a future of progress, development and social justice, of solidarity, peace and cooperation with other peoples. The counter-revolutionary process and the decades of right-wing policies – which includes Portugal's participation in the European capitalist integration process – contradicted that perspective with a policy serving the interests of economic groups and multinationals, against the rights and interests of the people, the development of the country and national sovereignty. A policy that was and is always carried out in clash with the April Constitution.

The national situation we are experiencing is the result of this tension that persists between the actions of those who wish to erase the April Revolution and its achievements from history and national reality and, on the other hand, the strength of the people who have fought to defend their rights conquered with April, even when they are not designated as such.

Portugal is, in 2024, a country in which the people carry the burden of the negative consequences of decades of right-wing policies that have always had a foundation in the European Union and its policies.

A country in which low wages and pensions, job precariousness and forced emigration of young people weigh heavily on the workers and people.

A country that is plagued by the denial of social rights, the lack of response from the National Health Service, the disinvestment in Public Schools, the lack of a state policy aimed at guaranteeing the right to housing.

Whose present and future is plagued by the destruction of productive sectors, external dependence, and growing attacks on sovereignty.

A country in which discontent and revolt thrives among those who see that the people's difficulties continue to grow while economic groups amass scandalous profits, worsening injustices and inequalities.

Portugal is today an impoverished country due to decades of policies that undermine its capabilities and potential, which have devalued work and workers, promoted the concentration of wealth and alienated national sovereignty, which deny the fulfilment of the State's responsibilities in implementing rights enshrined in the Constitution, which heighten the dominance of monopoly capital over national life.

Decades of right-wing policies in which, as must be highlighted, we count the almost four decades since joining the EEC and two and a half decades since joining the Euro.

Portugal is, in 2024, a country increasingly deprived of industry, agriculture and fishing, activities that certainly disrupt the landscape of a huge holiday resort that others have idealised for our future.

A country increasingly subject to the predatory action of multinationals and the bleeding of national resources that are wasted in the transfer of interest, profits and dividends outside its borders in the name of the free circulation of goods, services and capital.

A country that, although capable of producing a lot, is governed to produce little and forced to buy abroad much of what is most essential for individual survival and collective life, from cereals to meat and fish, from hospital equipment to medicines, from electronic devices to trains and buses.

A country that, producing little and being forced to buy abroad, gets into debt in Euros, a German standard currency that proves to be too expensive for a Portuguese economy configured by the European Union in terms of the Single Market and common policies.

A country that, producing little, being forced to buy abroad and taking on debt without controlling the currency it uses, finds itself hostage to the conditions of this debt and also subject to increasingly tight budget restrictions, unable to decide interest rates adjusted to its economy and the living conditions of its people, limited in the ability to invest in its own modernisation, conditioned in decisions regarding its own path of development.

A country that every year sends abroad the young people it needs to develop, young people who, after graduating in Portugal, will contribute to the progress and development of other societies, which are also dominated by those who impose on us all of the above limitations and difficulties.

A country in which government action for decades has been characterised by the subordination of political power to economic power, by submission to external impositions, by the quiet acceptance of the disastrous consequences of European capitalist integration, by the camouflage of its impacts and losses, by the denial of satisfaction of the needs of the popular masses, of universal social rights such as healthcare, housing, education.

The path into which Portugal has been pushed is unsustainable and in recent years we have had clear proof of this.

Portugal's subjection to the troikas' Pact of Aggression and the pandemic dramatically confirmed the degree of subordination of political power, the frailty of our economy and the extent of our dependence.

More recently, the rise in interest rates ruthlessly determined by the European Central Bank crudely reveals who the Euro and the ECB serve, but also the degree of alienation of sovereignty that we have reached. The president of the ECB, Christine Lagarde, responded to the thousands of families and MSMEs choked by the increase in credit instalments, saying that the containment of wages is an “encouraging” factor but is not yet enough. This is the indifference with which the people, holders of sovereignty, are treated by those in the European superstructure who make decisions allegedly in their name.

And if much has already been said about how part of what was done with April has been undone, much remains to be said about everything they still want to undo.

The most recent developments in the European Union are particularly negative on an economic, social and political level.

To the significant reinforcement of its militaristic aspect is added the deepening of its neoliberal matrix, which will tend to worsen the dynamics of economic and social divergence.

The European Union Budget appears to be increasingly weakened in the so-called “economic and social cohesion” and more aligned with the priorities of the main European powers – including the militarist drive; a budget that is even more out of touch with the needs and priorities of each country and each people, more centralised in its programming and execution. For Portugal, the prospect that emerges is that of a cut in the funds to be received, which must be firmly opposed.

The European Central Bank's monetary policy ensures fabulous profits for banks, harming families, small businesses and the most dependent and indebted States.

The reform of the EU's “Economic Governance” and the Stability Pact will exacerbate the discretionary power of the European Commission and increase constraints, adding to the dictatorship of the deficit and debt, an increased pressure on public expenditure, heightening the neoliberal bias of the budgetary policies imposed by the EU, with the impacts we know on wages, public services and investment.

The evolution of the situation in the Euro Zone, with low levels of economic growth and a monetary policy determined by the interests of financial capital, proves the falsehood of the propaganda that announced the single currency as “a shield against crises”.

The deepening of the Single Market increases constraints that are particularly felt by countries like Portugal. Liberalised markets – from energy to transport, among others – guarantee fabulous profits for multinationals while harming national sovereignty and independence and penalising families and small businesses, particularly in countries considered to be on the so-called “periphery”.

On a social level, the affirmation of a supposed “social pillar” of the EU has resulted, in practice, in a tendency towards a regression in living and working conditions.

Using the most varied artifices, the EU has been increasingly intervening in areas of national competence, even in areas as sensitive to democracy like freedom of the press and censorship, among others, in obvious conflict with the Constitution of the Portuguese Republic.

The discussion surrounding EU’s enlargement is inseparable from NATO's policy of confrontation and expansion, in which the EU seeks to establish itself as a European pillar, entailing increased risks for peace and security in Europe and the world.

The EU's propaganda on the environmental front, particularly with regard to climate change and the energy transition, has served more to justify new business areas than to face and resolve burning problems that, in fact, are getting worse.

For decades, the EU has been presented to us as the promise of a bright future in a land of milk and honey, but not even milk quotas were left to sustain the illusion of a tomorrow that never comes. The proof that such advertisements are nothing more than misleading advertising is found in the difficulties that accumulate daily in people's lives and in the discourse that seeks to hide them with new promises for future disappointments.

This country didn't have to be like this, it doesn't have to be like this.

In the year in which we celebrate the 50th.anniversary of the 25th. of April, we affirm that another path is necessary and possible, a path with April on the horizon.

In its achievements and advances, the April Revolution confirms the defence of national sovereignty and independence as essential factors for the adoption of an economic and social development policy that effectively responds to the problems and needs of the people and the country, for a foreign policy of peace, friendship and cooperation with the peoples of the world, for the emancipation of the workers and Portuguese people.

It is by following this path that Portugal can help to solve Humanity's greatest problems, towards a world of peace and social progress.

Everything that was built in this luminous process that was the April Revolution is, even today – 50 years later – proof that Portugal is a country with a future. All the material from which this construction was made is still here, available to the people for their future achievements. In its natural riches and productive potential, in the capacity of its people and in the diversity of its culture, in the real possibilities of meeting the needs of the people using national resources and with them also building the bases of cooperation with other peoples, Portugal continues to demonstrate that it is not a poor country but an impoverished country.

It is necessary to reverse this path of impoverishment and build an alternative, breaking with right-wing policies, implementing an alternative, patriotic and left-wing policy, facing the obstacles, limitations and constraints that may arise, whether internal or external.

Reality shows that a policy that defends the rights of workers and people, economic development and national sovereignty will have to face the constraints of the Economic and Monetary Union and the Euro and the interference, pressure and blackmail of the European Union.

Therefore, building an alternative requires courage rather than submission.

To valorise wages and pensions and improve the people's living conditions, Portugal will have to stand up to the EU guidelines that aim to impose wage restraint and the degradation of living conditions.

To hire the workers who are lacking in public services, to valorise their wages, their careers, their working conditions, Portugal will have to stand up to the EU's impositions to reduce spending on Public Administration as a strategy to favour business of economic groups transformed into service providers to the State.

To ensure public investment in healthcare, housing, education, culture and science, in the modernisation of infrastructure and equipment, Portugal will have to stand up to the budgetary constraints imposed by the EU that condemn the country to backwardness and leave us without the capacity to prepare ourselves to face the challenges that the future poses to us.

To defend national production and productive sectors, making the country produce, creating wealth and employment, Portugal will have to stand up to the impositions of the EU and its common policies that increase our external dependence and leave the country at the mercy of multinationals and the interests of European powers.

To ensure development based on a harmonious and sustainable relationship between human beings and Nature and the economic and social transformations that this requires, Portugal will have to face up to the green rhetoric that leaves untouched the foundations of the economic and social system based on the main environmental problems that humanity faces today, denouncing that capitalism is not green.

In order to contribute to a Europe of cooperation between sovereign States with equal rights, social progress and peace, Portugal will have to confront the neoliberal, federalist and militarist policies of the European Union.

The issues of war and peace are, in fact, decisive issues today for the people of the entire world and especially for the people of Europe. Issues regarding which there is no hesitation on the part of the CDU.

Against confrontation and war, the CDU defends a foreign policy of peace and cooperation, respect for the sovereignty and rights of peoples, defence of the principles of the United Nations Charter and international law.

Against militarism and the escalation of arms, the CDU defends general, simultaneous and controlled disarmament and the dissolution of political-military blocs.

Against the diversion of financial resources from States to warmongering, to the billion-dollar business of the arms industry, to war, the CDU defends the use of these resources to respond to the right to healthcare, education, housing, transport, not failing to ensure the means for the Portuguese Armed Forces to fulfil their constitutional mission of safeguarding national independence and sovereignty.

In Ukraine, Palestine or other parts of the world where peoples are martyred by war, the CDU's position will be the only one that serves the peoples, the position in defence of peace.

With the coherence with which we defend peace, we will also defend solidarity, equality and human dignity, enshrined as fundamental rights and principles in the April Constitution.

Against policies that deny refugees and migrants the recognition of the dignity of their lives and the right to a better life, the CDU will consistently defend solidarity, fraternity and humanism with which we must build the new society that is the future of Humanity.

Racism, xenophobia, discrimination and hatred are instilled by those who feed on exploitation, benefit from conflicts between peoples and, therefore, deliberately and artificially stimulate them.

For many decades, European peoples sought living conditions that they could not find in their countries elsewhere in the world or refuge from wars and Nazi-fascist dictatorships. Today, in Europe, the values of solidarity, fraternity and humanism with which the European peoples were welcomed at the time must prevail.

Portugal, within the framework of its capabilities, can and must welcome immigrants and refugees, ensuring their labour and social rights just as it must ensure for all other workers in Portugal, creating conditions for their insertion and reconstruction of their lives, combating dehumanisation and exploitation of which they are target.

A solidary, fraternal and humanist response that demands an end to the predation of the natural resources and wealth of other peoples, practices that the EU covers and promotes and that make life difficult in these countries and force migration. A response that requires the defence, within the European Union, of a policy of genuine cooperation for development, alongside respect for rights, including social and labour rights, which rejects discrimination and combats the instrumentalization of migrant workers by large economic interests.

It is with this courage that the CDU will continue to count decisively in the fight for a land where everyone treats everyone equally.

We have a demanding electoral battle ahead of us that calls on all CDU militants and activists for their committed and combative intervention. Fighting misinformation and providing clarification, contacting and mobilising to vote for the CDU those who have the CDU at their side every day in the fight to defend their rights and living conditions.

A battle that we have to fight with the courage, determination and confidence that gives us the message that we hold and the struggle of more than 100 years of which we are heirs and current key players.

The alternative we affirm as heirs and continuators of the values of the April Revolution that opened Portugal to the world, that put the eyes of the world on this country and gave the people pride in the future that they were building at the time.

It is the people who have in their hands the power to transform their lives and their countries, to transform the reality of the European continent.

The appeal we make to the Portuguese people is to use with courage this power of transformation that they have, for a democratic and developed Portugal, in a Europe of peace, sovereignty, social progress and cooperation between peoples.

Long live the struggle of workers and peoples!

Long live the 25th. of April!

Long live the CDU!

  • Trabalhadores
  • União Europeia
  • Central
  • CDU