Concluding a two-day campaign trip, Frans Timmermans joined Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa in Porto with Partido Socialista leaders and activists as the party kicked off their European election campaign. Timmermans delivered a rousing speech, praising the positive and pro-European attitude of the Portuguese Government and hailing the economic and social turnaround in the country since Antonio Costa’s Government took power.
Read the full transcript of Frans Timmermans' speech to the Partido Socialista Congress below.
Viva o Partido Socialista!
Caras e Caros amigos,
é uma honra estar aqui no Norte de Portugal, aquele Norte onde há pouco mais de quarenta anos atras Mario Soares esteve com os grandes líderes europeus para repensar à posição de Portugal perante a Europa e a importância de Portugal na Europa.
Na altura dizia-se, Europa Connosco... hoje quero dizer que nos todos somos a Europa.
Dear friends, I will not pain you with my horrible Portuguese from now on.
I was watching the images of Mario Soares, and remembering meeting him and talking to him, I was thinking, sitting next to Antonio Costa, how proud Mario would be to see the party in the hands of Antonio Costa today. How proud Mario would be to see what the Socialist Party has done in the last two years to his country, bringing back optimism, bringing back the spirit of the young people, bringing back this belief in ourselves, this belief in Portugal, this belief in Europe which is so strong thanks to you.
Antonio Costa and his Government are showing every day that you can have a country and a Europe that is more social, that distances itself from austerity, but doesn’t do that at the expense of our children and grandchildren. Doesn’t do that by putting ever more burden on their shoulders. No. Portugal shows to the rest of Europe that we can be responsible with taxpayers’ money but at the same time create more jobs, create more social responsibility, create higher salaries, create a higher minimum wage. All these things can be done and Antonio and his Government have shown the way.
My friends, I’ve just come from the airport. I was with our comrades in Hungary, in Budapest. And they send a strong message of friendship and solidarity to all of you. But in return, I would ask all of you to send a very, very strong message of solidarity and support to our comrades in Hungary. They certainly need it.
The contrast between the two leaders of these two countries could not be bigger. Here in Portugal you have a leader who is a patriot, who is open to the rest of the world. Here you have somebody who says to his people: be open, be pro-European, be optimistic, embrace difference, be kind to people who need our help, be kind to refugees who don’t know where to go, don’t let people die in the Mediterranean, give them refuge if they need it.
And in Hungary you have a leader who has chained his people to fear, who creates new enemies every day, who says Europe is a bad thing, who says that a foreigner is a direct threat to the culture of his nation. The contrast could not be bigger.
But there’s one thing these two nations – Portugal and Hungary - have in common: young people. I have spoken yesterday and today with young Hungarians. There is no difference. The difference is in language and background, but they are just as European as these young Portuguese people. They are just as optimistic. They are just as idealistic. So on their behalf, on behalf of all young people, in all of Europe, I say today: It’s Time!
It’s Time we did something about climate change.
It’s Time we put an end to gender-based violence, by legislation in the whole of Europe.
It’s Time we put an end to the pay gap between men and women. It’s Time we put an end to the pension gap.
It’s Time we finally made the big multinationals just pay fair taxes like everybody else. It’s Time!
It’s Time we engaged in making our economy sustainable.
It’s Time we make ourselves less dependent on fossil fuels and made the switch to sustainable energy. It’s Time!
It’s Time to create a world that is more just. It’s Time that Europe has a strategy for Africa that takes care of the needs of our sister continent.
It’s Time we created affordable housing for young people who are desperate in almost all big cities in Europe because they cannot find a house.
It’s Time Europe speaks up and says no to a new nuclear arms race. It’s Time!
It’s Time that we show there is an alternative to the politics of exclusion, to the politics of nationalism, to the politics of hate.
Hate cannot drive out hate. Only love can. So when they hate, we love. When they play dirty, we play fair. When they lie, we tell the truth. Even if it’s the painful truth. When they turn their backs on us, we reach out our hand, to create solidarity in our society.
It is less than 100 days before the European elections. These elections are about the soul of Europe. These elections are about the question: ‘do we reach out to each other to find common solutions, or do we turn our backs on each other?’
This is the time for European patriotism. This is the time for true patriots to say, ‘I am a patriot because I am proud of my country and I want to share that with other countries. I want to learn about other countries. Tell me what is good in your country so that I can learn from it.’
There is a huge difference between patriots and nationalists. Nationalists need to hate. Patriots refuse to hate.
Portugal might be one of the smaller countries of Europe, like my own country, the Netherlands, but Portugal has a lot to say to Europe. Portugal has a very strong message. Portugal can show Europe how you can come from the depths of a horrible economic crisis and in a few years turn things around, in a few years bring optimism back, in a few years make sure that there is a future for Portuguese people in Portugal. Thanks to Europe, with Europe. If anything, all of us are Europeans. We should remember that. And you will tell the rest of Europe.
I am grateful you invited me to be here. I am proud to be a socialist. I am humbled by the wonderful things the Socialist Party in Portugal has achieved in the past few years. You are an inspiration to me personally. You are an inspiration to Europe. You are an inspiration to the young generation for who we do everything.
It’s Time that we put our future first. Let the right, the conservatives, keep on rewriting history. We know our history. We are proud of it. But we will be writing the future. And the future starts today in Porto.
Thank you very much. Multo obrigado.