On 10 November 2016, with our Portuguese partners Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian and Instituto Português de Relações Internacionais (IPRI-UNL), the 4th German-Portugal-Forum was held.
In the beginning, Parliamentary State Secretary Brigitte Zypries from the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy spoke about a digital European Single Market as well as the active resistance within the German public to the trade agreements CETA and TTIP. She represented Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel, who has been invited to deliver an opening statement but was unable to attend the forum, due to illness. The Portuguese Foreign Minister Prof. Dr. Augusto Santos Silva reviewed the topics, such as trade agreements and employment from the Portuguese perspective with special focus on Industry 4.0. As representative of the Bank of Portugal, Prof. Dr. Elisa Ferreira emphasized the necessity of strengthening the Banking Union in order to stabilize the Economic and Monetary Union and to generate growth.
Vividly debated were the tasks of European Security Union by the representatives from Foreign Ministries of both states, Ministerial Director Martin Kotthaus und Ambassador Francisco Seixas da Costa, as well as by the politicians and scientists. The high levels of acceptance among the citizens for an implementation of a Security and Defense Policy by the EU on the one hand, and the strong opposition to sharing the sovereignty with the EU from national governments of the Member states on another hand, were also subjects for discussions. It was noted, that the goal of creation of a European Security and Defense Union can only be accomplished gradually by establishing a Civilian and Military Management Centre as a first step.
Very interesting analyses of the Europe-Africa relations were provided regarding the equal intercontinental relationship in the 21st century. The necessity of an intensified cooperation between Europe and Africa was especially emphasized, particularly with regard to state-building and civil societal dialog. A number of proposals were made on the technical and financial assistance possibly provided by the European Development Fund, the International Monetary Fund and the European Investment Bank. In addition to the responsibility based on the history of the European colonization of Africa, the need of improvement in the fields of education and enlightenment in Europe concerning Africa was also reaffirmed.
The final panel with the Minister of State Michael Roth from the Federal Foreign Office and his Portuguese counterpart Dr. Margarida Marques was dedicated to the issue ‘Europe at the Crossroad’ and was accompanied by the general discussion and comments by Dr. Katrin Böttger, Deputy Director of the Institut für Europäische Politik and Dr. Vítor Martins, former State Secretary for European Integration.
The opening statement of the Minister of State Michael Roth at the German-Portugal-Forum on 10th November 2016 can be found here.
Please find more details in the attached program.
After the concluding remarks by the ambassadors of both states, Dr. Christof Weil und João Mira Gomes, there was a small reception.