07/17/2021 | Press release | Archived content
The Prime Minister of Portugal, António Costa announced that Portugal will triple its offer of Covid-19 vaccines to the Portuguese-speaking African countries and East Timor, from one to three million shots, at the press conference following the 13th Summit of Heads and Government of the Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries , held in Luanda.
The Prime Minister, together with the Minister of State and Foreign Affairs, Augusto Santos Silva, and the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Francisco André, travelled with the President of the Portuguese Republic Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa to the summit that marked the community's 25th anniversary.
António Costa recalled Portugal had committed to sending 5% of its full amount of vaccines, but recent tallies meant that more could be made available, therefore 'we will triple the number of vaccines and will send three million, rather than one', he stated.
«According to the calculations of the vaccines we can offer', it will be possible to donate 'a total of four million shots', therefore meaning that there is still 'another million we can allocate to other programmes, namely Brazil, Latin American countries, or simply hand them over to the Covax facility, without a specific recipient', he claimed.
The Prime Minister noted that 'there has been a huge solidarity effort in this stage of the fight against Covid-19, whether in terms of technical support, whether in sharing vaccines' among the Community of Portuguese-speaking countries, 'but it's crucial that CPLP is a part of our everyday life, not just through soap operas, music and literature, but also the capacity to circulate', he added in a statement to the press.
António Costa also announced that the Government will immediately send to the Portuguese Parliament the mobility agreement and legislative framework on the circulation and educational skills within the CPLP signed at this summit, so that it may be ratified at the start of the following legislative session in September.
'Signing this mobility agreement will provide once and for all the creation of a true citizenship pillar within the CPLP, facilitating the circulation between all Member States, the recognition of academic training and the transfer of Social Security rights. These are matters that have an impact on people's daily lives', he said.
The Prime Minister claimed that 'with this agreement, we will not have a repeat of the Brazilian dentists' crisis in Portugal [in the 1980's], or, more recently, that of the Portuguese engineers in Brazil', adding, however, that 'a framework agreement was signed, that still requires some development' and diplomatic work so that it is implemented in full.
'When we put this idea forward in 2016, some countries heavily opposed it, but now we've found a flexible framework. Perhaps we won't all be going at the same speed, but it will be contagious. As soon as the first country takes the first step - and Portugal will surely take the first step - everyone else will step forward too which is fundamental for the CPLP to be more than a mere space for political dialogue, a field in which we've had great success', he said.
To this end, he offered as an example the first time António Guterres was elected Secretary-General of the United Nations in 2017, 'which benefited greatly from the existence of the CPLP and the pluricontinental articulation reached between the different countries at the time'.
António Costa also referred to the economic and corporate cooperation, in which 'there is full harmony at this moment', claiming that 'it has room to grow' due to the 'pressing need we all have to recover our economies' and he highlighted the priorities undertaken by the new Angolan chair of the community, for which economic and corporate cooperation 'is one of the CPLP's fundamental pillars'.
The Prime Minister also referred to the issue posed by Equatorial Guinea, one of the community's full members, still applying the death sentence and not having enough freedom of press, something it undertook when it joined in 2014.
This is 'an issue that no one is overlooking' and the country 'must meet the commitments it made. If it doesn't, it can no longer be a part of this community', he noted.
At the summit, which was attended by Equatorial Guinea's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Simeon Esono, all the remaining Member States 'already claimed what is known': 'the CPLP isn't simply a language community. This is a cultural community based on shared values. When we began, not every country was a democracy, but the space for democratization has been broadening within the CPLP', he said.
'This is not the community for those who do not want to be democratic those who do not want to share these values', he underlined.
On the side of the summit, the Portuguese Prime Minister and the President of Portugal met with the Vice President of Brazil Hamilton Mourão, and the Prime Minister met with the Prime Minister of Mozambique, Carlos Agostinho do Rosário.