a “split-free” debate with the PAN praising PS's “positive developments” – The Economic Journal

The debate between António Costa (PS) and André Silva (PAN) on Wednesday revealed proximity between the two party leaders on budgetary matters. And in the environmental chapter, the socialist heard a compliment from the ecologist deputy about the "positive evolution" of the PS during the legislature, although there are still differences in intensive agriculture and tourism.

"There has been a positive evolution of the PS in the last four years by the PS in environmental matters", acknowledged André Silva, attributing this advance to the opposition made by the PAN in Parliament, which managed to lead the socialists to take more environmentally friendly positions. .

The PAN deputy then pointed out that the PS is “in some matters” sinning as “unambitious” because it “puts the primacy of economic growth over conservation of habitats and ecosystems”, setting an example of the too slow pace of closure of coal plants in the country.

Costa retorted by expressing his commitment to environmental issues and the climate emergency – recalled that he created the ministry of energy transition – but that “we cannot commit to shutting down coal plants without safe alternatives” that does not cause “ disruption ”of the country's supply. “In the goals there is no division between us. There is perhaps a divergence in pace, ”he said.

André Silva also criticized the “unreasonable” growth model regarding the tourist load and agriculture with more impacts on the environment, namely the facilitation of intensive olive groves. "The PS is turning the Alentejo into an intensive olive grove," he criticized, underlining the harmful effects on soil erosion and contamination.

Antonio Costa refuted the accusation with statistics. “Alentejo has three million hectares and olive groves are 170 thousand are dedicated to olive groves. And the share of intensive olive groves is 1.5% of the Alentejo area, ”he said, arguing that the PS follows a“ balanced view ”. “We do not want a predatory economic regime, but we must generate wealth and self-sufficiency for the country. We cannot be a country that does not take advantage of its resources, ”he said.

In a debate with high political interest – if the PS does not get an absolute majority, the possibility of possible agreements with the growing NAP is opening up – the tone turned out to be agreement on budgetary matters.

André Silva defended that he must “comply with the treaties”, but it is not necessary to go further. "The PS intends – rightly – to reduce debt to output and make public investments to ensure budget surpluses." The deputy stressed that the NAP is “a bit more conservative” and prefers to point to a budget balance of 0.5% rather than the total elimination of the deficit, so that there is “some slack” for more social benefits and public investment if there is one. an economic downturn.

Costa also stressed the need for balanced fiscal consolidation. "If we have positive primary balances without cutting wages and pensions, it gives us more room to face a crisis."

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