Minister of State for Europe Michael Roth visited Portugal for political talks on 9 March. While in Lisbon, he met his counterpart and members of parliament, talked to pupils at the German School and gave a speech on the future of Europe.
This was Michael Roth’s first visit to Lisbon in his capacity as Minister of State for Europe. His meeting with Bruno Maçães, Portuguese Secretary of State of European Affairs, was characterised by mutual trust. The two politicians know each other from numerous meetings in Brussels. Following their talks, which focused on the current situation in Greece and in Turkey and on deepening economic and monetary union, Minister of State Roth said:
In Portugal we have at our side a reliable partner, a partner committed to European integration, a partner which has come through a hard time in the wake of the crisis. With courage and determination, the Portuguese have succeeded in overcoming the financial crisis. Now the economic upswing has to benefit ordinary people.
European policy: more than reactive crisis management
In a speech at an event organised by the Friedrich‑Ebert-Stiftung in Lisbon, the Minister of State outlined his vision of a Europe which will remain a guarantor of security, stability and prosperity:
Today we want to talk about our shared future in Europe, and I’m almost tempted to say “finally”.” The crisis in Ukraine, the situation in Greece and the suffering of refugees in Europe are all, without a doubt, important and pressing topics.
Whilst we’re understandably concentrating on the challenges we’re currently facing, we must never lose sight of our future. European policy should always strive to be more than just reactive crisis management and pure damage control. We must also look at the bigger picture and clarify the long‑term strategic trajectory of European policy, especially now in these times of crisis.
The full text of the Minister of State’s speech in Lisbon is available here.
European public sphere has long been a reality
At the German School in Lisbon, the predominantly Portuguese pupils had a lively discussion with Minister of State Roth about the future of the European Union, the crisis in Greece, the dramatic situation in Ukraine and the planned Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). The fact that the pupils in Portugal were interested in the same questions as their contemporaries in Greece, Germany or Italy was, the Minister of State commented, a further sign of European integration. He said:
“The European public sphere, something politicians and academics are constantly calling for, has long been a reality for these pupils.”