Livia Franco: “The Portuguese are still among the most optimistic about the European Union”

Livia Franco: “The Portuguese are still among the most optimistic about the European Union”

The last stop on our European tour for the June 9 elections is Portugal. For the researcher Lisbon Livia FrancoThese elections are not a big deal for the Portuguese. But that does not mean that they are retreating from them, on the contrary: after fifty years clove revolutionHowever, the EU remains an important, even ideal, standard for the population. Interview.

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Are the European elections a problem for the Portuguese? Are they really interested in it?

Livia Franco: according to Latest Euro ScaleThe Portuguese are still among the most optimistic about the European Union and its integration project. But, as in most EU countries, the debates revolve around national issues: immigration, the deterioration of public infrastructure, education, the health system… The Portuguese are interested in these elections because they come shortly after the legislative elections, which did not produce any results. A clear majority for the winning party, the Social Democratic Party (PSD). So everyone is wondering how stable the current government is. Sunday's vote will therefore serve as a second exercise in confirming the legislative direction or lack thereof.

“In Portugal, Sunday's vote will confirm or disconfirm the result of the legislative elections, and thus the stability of the current government.”

Is there a risk that these results will change?

According to the latest opinion polls, the two main parties, the Social Democrats and the Social Democrats, are neck and neck, with each intending to vote for around 25%. This means that there is a certain hesitation in public opinion, which is not leaning in one direction or the other. The real issue will be the outcome of the far-right party. Shiga (“Enough!”, or “Enough!”), which witnessed an unprecedented surge during the legislative elections. Chega is a modern party founded in 2019. Because Salazarism With the fall of the dictatorship relatively recently, Portugal thought it was immune to the far right. However, this is not the case.

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How can we explain Chiga's success, even though Portugal this year celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Carnation Revolution?

Several factors play a role. After nearly thirty years in power, the socialists have evoked a feeling of weariness, almost mechanical. Add to that a Corruption scandal Which directly affected the former Prime Minister Antonio CostaAnd opens a street for the opposition. Therefore, a vote for Chiga is a protest vote. Shiga is also very different from the National Rally, especially on the geopolitical level. They have no contact with Russia Russian President Vladimir PutinThey are, rather, transatlantic, pro-NATO. If Chega becomes the third party in Portugal, it is mainly due to immigration issues. It is completely new for us.

“By defeating Salazar’s dictatorship, Portugal thought it was immune to the far right. However, this is not the case.”

Until now, Portugal was actually closer to the country we left…

Last year, we received nearly a million new migrants, most of them from Central Asia, especially Bangladesh and India. These new arrivals usually hold precarious and low-paid jobs, such as agricultural workers, delivery workers, cleaners or women. After Greece and Italy, Portugal has become an entry country into the European Union, where it is relatively easy to get to because we have no policy in this area – for a long time, Portugal was not of interest to anyone because of its specificity. Economic difficulties. Although most of these immigrants then sought to settle in France or Germany, many ultimately remained, prevented by the stricter immigration policies of our European neighbors and enticed by our welfare state. This obviously causes culture shock, misunderstanding and even rejection. On this subject, the country is quite polarized, between those who say that Portugal, having been a country of immigration for so long, can only rejoice that it has become a welcoming land, and others who complain that we no longer respect traditional Portuguese values. It's always the same story, these issues only affect us ten years too late!

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“For migrants, after Greece and Italy, Portugal has become a country of entry into the European Union, where access is relatively easy.”

In this context, did the commemoration of the fiftieth anniversary of April 25 arouse enthusiasm?

Yes, all generations come together in Lisbon, the parade that takes place every year in Liberty Street brings together more people than in previous years. There is still a strong awareness of what we owe on April 25th. [1974, soit la chute de la dictature]As well as the fragility of democracy. Nobody wants to go back. This is also one of the reasons why the war in Ukraine is a real cause for concern in Portugal, despite the geographical distance. The Ukrainian community is also the third largest in the country, and has been very well integrated for many years. If we support Ukrainians to this extent, it is perhaps because Portugal has always felt like a small country dependent on larger countries, most notably its immediate neighbour Spain. The latest poll conducted by the European Council on Foreign Relations Portugal, after Poland, was the country that showed the greatest confidence in Ukraine’s victory, and the greatest solidarity. This connection is part of the legacy of the Carnation Revolution: we know what we owe the European Union, and even if it is costly, we strongly support its enlargement to include Ukraine.

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About the Author: Germano Álvares

"Desbravador de cerveja apaixonado. Álcool alcoólico incurável. Geek de bacon. Viciado em web em geral."

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