Speech by Jerónimo de Sousa in Assembly of the Republic

"The state of the Nation reveals, with the force of reality, that the country needs the patriotic and left-wing policy"

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If there is an evidence that the current state of the Nation confirms, in these 20 months of existence of the new phase of national political life resulting from the last legislative elections and the changes that took place in the composition of the Assembly of the Republic, is the one that shows us the resounding disaster of the path followed by successive governments in recent years and had in the policy of the previous PSD/CDS government, its most ominous version.

This is confirmed, firstly, by developments in the economic and social situation and by its indicators on growth and employment. An evolution that revealed the complete failure of the right-wing policy of impoverishment of workers and cuts in the living conditions of the people. Its scope is still limited. It is not yet the answer that the Country needs, or the solution to the underlying problems that remain. But the policy of restoring rights, the return and increase of wages and incomes, as we defended and proposed, and PSD and CDS reneged, besides its positive social impact, has been confirmed as an essential factor of economic progress.

And this is the course that the Country has to reinforce.

This is the course that Portugal has to continue, no matter how much the European Commission, the IMF and its disciples here and abroad, proclaim as the source of all virtues a ruinous bailout programme and its false structural reforms, a package for all and every latitude. In the past to leave the excessive deficit and set the Country growing, today to pay off the debt and chase the carrot of the "rating" of the Republic. It is the path of raising the living conditions of the people that must be pursued, despite the systematic pressures and demands that continue to apply the unvarying prescription of so-called reforms - a cloak to disguise the policies of exploitation and impoverishment -, the prescription of cuts in Social Security and pensions, the undoing of labour rights, the freezing and cuts of wages in the name of competitiveness, the raising of taxes on people while unburdening big business. Prescriptions that must be rejected, firmly!

This is confirmed by the maintenance of the frailties and vulnerabilities of the Country that are expressed in fields such as food, demography, energy, land planning, infrastructure and public services, brought to light in the recent events of the tragic fires in the centre of the Country and arms robbery in the military barracks of Tancos.

They are a sample of the Portuguese reality that goes far beyond the seemingly contradictory flow of the conjuncture.

They reveal quite well the long-term consequences of the disastrous policy of recent decades, which has promoted a criminal programme of privatization and dismantling of Public Administration, which has deteriorated all functions of the State, including economic and sovereign functions, and also reveal the real dimension of the problems to be faced.

Consequences that tend to worsen since the constraints that hinder and impair the development of the Country remain, like the submission to the Euro, the public debt and its service, which annually consume around 8 thousand million euros in interest, the monopolistic domination by banks and other strategic sectors, the high dividends that leave the country and the tax evasion of large capital resorting to tax havens.

Yes, it is necessary to look beyond the economic situation, beyond the indicators of the evolution of the economy, no matter how important the economic growth in this or that quarter, in this or that period, and it is important, but this cannot serve to conceal the need for measures to ensure a solid and consistent development.

As in the past, there can be periods of economic growth, but only with the liberation of the Country from the existing constraints it is possible to ensure the development and improvement of the conditions of life to which the Portuguese people are entitled.

This is another unquestionable truth that the evolution of the Country's situation poses.

The solution to the Country's serious problems is not in recreating or reinventing variants of the same failed model that led the Country to regression and backwardness. It is not assured by programmes that keep Portugal hostage to external impositions and to serve interests that are not ours. The pernicious policy of the dictatorship of the deficit cannot be overcome with momentary fiscal gimmicks. Overcoming backwardness demands the liberation and overcoming of the strong constraints imposed on the country.

It is essential to make a change. Change the policy. Change and not just incorporate variants keeping the essentials of the solutions of the past. Change and not insist on the futile and illusory attempt to redraw the impossible squaring of the circle of reconciling the development of the Country with the submission to monopoly capital, to the interest of the debt, to the Euro and to the impositions of the European Union, as PS and its Government want.

Change, shifting and leaving behind the policy of national devastation carried out by PSD and CDS, which they still propagandize, but that the Country refuses. Change, by putting an end to the convergence that the PS has pursued in essential aspects with PSD and CDS, from labour legislation to economic and financial areas and national sovereignty.

The state of the Nation reveals, with the force that springs from the reality of life, that the Country needs the patriotic and left-wing policy that the PCP defends, a course of effective response to national problems, raising people's living conditions and creating conditions for development.

Portugal needs a patriotic and left-wing policy to respond to structural problems and to recover its backwardness. It needs to retrace its path. A path of reinforcing rights, improving the living conditions of the Portuguese. A path that includes many other aspects, to start with the reinforcement of the productive apparatus and national production. It needs a policy that ensures the affirmation of a free and sovereign Portugal in a world and in a Europe of States equal in rights.

And this is the path that is necessary for Portugal and to ensure its sustainable and sovereign development.

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