The leader of the PSD, Rui Rio, continued this Wednesday a short tour (in a lunch version) with businessmen – which began yesterday in Lisbon and continued today at the headquarters of the AEP Foundation, in an event organized by the Confederation of Commerce and Services of Portugal – during which he had the opportunity to state that he is pleased that the PS will bring its electoral promises closer to those that his party (or himself) has been proposing.
More specifically, Rui Rio referred to the last socialist pledge to cut taxes by about 200 million euros. “If we want to believe what the PS says, it means it's on the right track and it's coming to us. 200 million is an insignificance – but the PS is moving towards an economic environment similar to ours, which is prudent with ambition, ”he said.
The Social Democratic leader recalled that “the tax reduction and the increase in public investment are, on the part of the PSD, achievable” and reiterated that, “as regards the increase in public investment, we have 3,600 million to focus on health and transport ”.
Welcoming the fact that the PS is moving closer to the PSD, Rio was, however, very critical of how the socialists come to their promises next year, should they win the election. The problem, he says, is that the PS does not explain how it reaches the promises it intends to present to the Portuguese – particularly as regards how to finance them.
It is the traditional socialist lack of rigor, says Rio, who accuses the PS of doing things exactly the opposite of what is supposed. “We took the official macroeconomic framework of the Public Finance Council, and worked from there,” which is why “we are far from saying that in four years the Portuguese will be in paradise”.
More specifically, Rio wanted to refer to the issue of the National Health Service (NHS), which the PS admits to being in a bad position, despite ensuring that it has maintained a high level of funding there. "The PS feels the need to say the same thing we have been saying, which proves that what we have been saying has sustainability, otherwise we would not be copied," he said.
Rio insisted: “When the Government comes to say that it has invested more money, but the NHS is worse, it is serious. If winning the elections will you do better? Like? Parties have to propose things in a balanced way. In the NHS, the PS gives the arm to cheer, says it's bad but goes well, without saying how. Again a matter of funding.
Regarding education, “I have no information that will go well or badly, we have to wait for what will happen,” said Rio, who has not forgotten to stress that “we know that if the PS wins the elections there will be a conflict with the teachers; if it's the PSD who wins, we'll sit at the table with them. ”
Rio recalled that "it is absolutely vital to have a different model of economic growth from what we have had, if we can come up with a growth model to what we have been witnessing." Growth, “very consumption-based,” is out of line with priorities as it destroys the trade balance, which is why, says Rio, “tradable goods” have to return to top priorities.
In a crowded room – but failing for top businessmen – Rui Rio explained how the PSD came up with the solutions it has been presenting to the electorate, starting from the framework proposed by the Council. Prudence with ambition, he recalled.