Minister of State Roth has had a meeting in Berlin with his Portuguese counterpart Bruno Maçães. Their talks focused on their shared commitment to Europe, its future and fundamental European values. Secretary of State for European Affairs Maçães briefed Roth on the latest developments in Portugal. Both voiced support also for intensified bilateral cooperation.
It was Minister of State Roth’s first meeting with Portugal’s Secretary of State for European Affairs Maçães. A host of important issues were on the agenda. Roth and Maçães focused particularly on issues relating to the future of the European Union. Both sides agreed it was crucial that Europe’s citizens should view the European Union not as part of the problem but as part of the solution. So the fight against dramatically high youth unemployment in Portugal and across Europe had to remain right at the top of the EU’s agenda.
Need to strengthen social cohesion in Europe
It was essential to strengthen social cohesion and also take steps to boost growth and employment, Roth and Maçães agreed. They emphasised the need to get this important message across to voters during the run-up to the European Parliament elections in May.
Strengthening fundamental European values must be right at the top of the European agenda, they noted. In this connection Roth commented:
Europe is more than the single market and more than the single currency. The EU is a Union of values. The European Union can only be confident in promoting its values beyond its borders if it is also consistent in living out these values at home. Therefore, we need an effective mechanism to protect our values – democracy, rule of law, protection of minorities – where they are under threat.
Intensifying bilateral cooperation
Roth and Maçães also discussed the current situation in Portugal. The continuation of structural reforms and budget consolidation was contributing in a major way, they agreed, to strengthening the euro area as a whole. Portugal has announced its intention of leaving the European financial assistance programmes in May. “It has been a difficult period for our country and for the European Union,” Maçães explained. “However, there are many things to look forward with the European elections around the corner, and encouraging signs such as restoring economic growth and employment at the national and EU level.”
Roth and Maçães also announced their intention to intensify bilateral cooperation between Germany and Portugal. In this connection they drew attention to the second German Portuguese Forum due to take place on 10 and 11 March in Berlin.