Ramalho Eanes attacks "ideological fever" in public services – The Economic Journal


General António Ramalho Eanes, the first President of the Republic elected after April 25, 1974, made an implicit reference to the debate on the Basic Law on Health, criticizing the "ideological fever" that conditions the positions of political parties on the provision of public services, during the conference "Portugal: Crises and the Future", held on Monday in SEDES – Association for Economic and Social Development.

"The ideological fever seems to forget that it is the duty of the State to define the general interest and its rules, which does not mean that the State, by fixing the rules of the game, must itself provide the services. In fact, the services provided by the State and by others other than the State in these areas allows, in my opinion, a comparison in quality and cost control, "said the current State Councilor, stressing that this is happening in the health and transport sectors railways.

In a "radiograph of the present state of our democracy" in which he spared no criticism of the parties that "function as corporations of interest" – the distribution of seats in the administration of Caixa Geral de Depósitos being a "paradigmatic example of partisan colonization" – and "Amorphous civil society," the military officer who was head of state between 1976 and 1986 said that such a combination "opens doors to demagogy and deception, corruption, justicialism and populism." In his opinion, it is in the substitution of the criteria of knowledge, competence and merit for "party loyalty, solidarity and various and unjust interests" that "is very much rooted in the corruption epidemic that rages in Portuguese society, which weakens social trust and contributes for its degradation. "

Nor has Eanes forgotten the limits imposed on regulation, a traditional function of the state progressively diminished by European integration. "Making economic promises, as it does between us, especially during election periods, is already a serious and almost deceptive act. In fact, legally and institutionally, there is no way to meet them, "he added. This is because monetary policy "is in the hands of the European Central Bank, an authority without real countervailing power", and the fiscal power remaining for the national states "only theoretically remains, given the freedom of capital movements, companies have relocated, with the negative consequences we all know ".

Recognizing that it is not easy to reverse the situation, the former President of the Republic presented proposals, including the definition of a migratory policy "that seeks, through qualified migrants, cultures with an affinity with Portuguese culture, to respond to the demands of the national universe promotion of a public investment effort in strategic areas – from railways and ports to education and vocational training – or, among other things, "to try to rehabilitate the so-called 'golden rule' of the European Union. Delors', which consisted in withdrawing productive investments from the public deficit ".

Attention to China
Looking outside Portugal, the State Councilman recovered what Napoleon had said of China two centuries ago, warning that the world should "be careful when it wakes."

Referring to statements by Chinese President Xi Jingping, who said that "the lion had woken up, but it was peaceful, nice and elegant," Eanes left a warning: "I do not know lions that are peaceful and friendly, although they may be elegant" .

Deeply acquainted with the Chinese mentality, his role in reestablishing diplomatic relations between Portugal and the People's Republic of China, and negotiating the transfer of sovereignty of Macao – decades after, at the beginning of his military career, he had made a commission in the territory – , emphasized that "that regime continues to be a regime of force". Something in the reaction to the protests in Hong Kong and the muscular intervention of the regime over the ethnic and religious minorities in its vast territory.

The former Head of State believes that nothing has changed despite the transformation project presented to him by Deng Xiaoping when leading the Luso-Chinese negotiations. "China has returned to the haughtiness that has long been natural to them, as they were the great discoverers of all things important," Eanes said, warning that China's belief in its superiority "could be troubling."

At a time when Portugal is one of the Western countries whose economy was marked by China's huge investments in banking, insurance and electric power, Eanes left an additional alert. "We know from experience that it is not easy to find a conflict with China because they seek dialogue rather than conflict, but although the state may conflict with a company, it can hardly conflict with a company that has behind it a State of that dimension ".

Article published in the 1995 edition, dated June 28, of the Jornal Econômico



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