President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen on Monday lauded Portugal as “a model on how to define a course” of economic recovery to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.
The European Union (EU) senior official, on her first official visit to Portugal, praised the country’s plans for reactivating economic activity without forgetting “social care.”
Von der Leyen told a joint press conference that Portugal is making great strides in digital transformation and advancing new and more sustainable energy sources, two pillars of the EU’s agenda.
Von der Leyen said that Europe must work together in this pandemic and introduce mechanisms to complement each country’s economic stabilizers with “an unprecedented package.”
“It is time for a single Union,” she said, admitting that the negotiations “are tough and very intense.”
Meanwhile, Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa warned that a quick approval of the European program of recovery and resilience is needed and that all EU member states must prepare to move forward once the funds are available for execution.
However, the head of government said Portugal cannot rely solely on the help of the European economic bloc.
“It is important to have a good budget because overcoming this economic and social crisis does not depend only on European support but it depends on us adopting good policies to respond to the needs of companies, to unemployment, to create a climate of confidence,” he said.
On the Brexit negotiations, the EU executive chief expressed her confidence in an agreement with Britain and called for “responsibility” not to accentuate the crisis with a non-agreement.
“We want an agreement, we are working hard on the negotiations and I am still convinced that an agreement is possible,” she said.