In the middle of a pandemic and after months of uncertainty about the future of the world, the EU presented us with a generous financial package and the Portuguese Government, warned that it needed to set in motion new designs to survive and continue on our way, published the study / economic recovery plan for the country, by professor and manager António Costa Silva, whose period of consultation and public discussion and incorporation of contributions ends on the 21st.
The Portuguese economy is undoubtedly a market economy. However, the State has a duty to play an important role in defining the rules, guaranteeing their stability and regulation and supporting the productive economy.
Universal Freemasonry - and Portuguese Freemasonry in particular - are not and could not be on the fringe of these developments, as they are a mirror of society and participate in it by intervening and transforming it, through its many thousands of members around the world.
Without failing to have a favorable opinion about the so-called “European bazooka”, we assume that the most important thing is to know how to use these same funds, applying and investing them where it is most necessary and useful, and also, where it is envisaged that it can be more reproductive, mobilizing for the development of the country and for the progress of citizens. Otherwise, if politicians are unable or want to change course, Portugal is in serious danger of becoming the poorest country in the European Union in a short time.
It is in this context that Professor António Costa Silva's decade-long plan emerges. Not wanting, in a short space of time, to analyze it, it should be said that it must be well scrutinized, even because it deserves it, as it is a document of deep reflection and of a wide spectrum, which presents clues that cannot be ignored or ignored.
We are interested to note that it did not intend to give a direction, make a choice or suggest the reach of a destination. Instead, it points out a plurality of horizons, suggests several paths, proposes different alternatives and shows different possibilities, taking into account foreseeable future and identifiable obstacles, refers to past mistakes in other places and alerts us to these or those reasons, paths that are not must do and, at the same time, gives note of political, social, geostrategic or technological prevalence, so that we can take this or that other direction.
All of this is good because it forces us to reflect, an exercise that is often hampered by those who would have this obligation, which has led us in the past to negative and impoverishing paths in the country.
Our analysis is more related to the social aspect, as we know the sad reality in which thousands of families find themselves, with unemployment being devastating, the growing lack of access to consultations and clinical acts, the increase in the indebtedness of communities and above all, a lack of horizons and hope for people. The matter is too serious to be neglected and I believe that, in such a global way, the world has not been faced with such challenges for a long time.
Professor Costa Silva's document presents 10 axes, but I would like to highlight the Social pillar here “to protect the most disadvantaged and vulnerable sectors of society and fight unemployment. Paradigms such as social housing and social employment must be discussed and studied ”. And also to deepen the pillar of the Energy Transition, with the decarbonisation of the economy and its “alignment with the objectives of the European Ecological Pact, with the National Energy and Climate Plan 2030, with the Roadmap for Carbon Neutrality 2050 and with the National Strategy for Nature Conservation and Biodiversity 2030 ”.
Regarding the Social pillar, we highlight the fact that, in Portugal, there are more than 900 thousand elderly people living alone, and another tens of thousands living in Homes.
We cannot accept that older people are abandoned, despised and institutionalized. There must be respect for human life.
We must think not as politicians, but as citizens, aware of our social and solidarity responsibilities. But we also have to welcome the initiative to “face the aging of the Portuguese population, taking into account that the current demography reduces the population available to work, compromises the potential for renewal and innovation and creates critical pressure on the management of public accounts and sustainability social security ”, which also includes the problem of demography“ which is structural and cannot be solved only with policies to support births ”, especially since in the last decade single-parent families have increased significantly, and the traditional and conventional has changed or ended.
Regarding the Energy Transition pillar, the challenge of using bio methane and hydrogen to compose the fuel supply basket, which is already a reality, is highlighted. In the near future we will use these fuels as mobility fuels and as a source of energy to satisfy the thermal consumption needs of the industry and / or domestic needs.
During part of my professional life, I participated in the construction of the largest industrial unit for anaerobic digestion in the country, which processes 120.000 tons of bio-waste from the solid urban waste treatment cycle.
This experience allows me to master and understand the binomial that combines waste treatment with energy generation. Residues, and in particular bio-residues from which I highlight food waste and biolamas resulting from the treatment of effluents, are the main materials for the generation of biomethane. Capturing one of the gases with the greatest effect on climate change, and turning it into one of the fuels that can help partially replace fossil fuels is a huge opportunity.
In general, the realization of a national strategic plan will require a great national consensus, in all sectors of activity, from the public to the private sector.
This must be the time to take advantage and strengthen solidarity, and to awaken individual responsibility towards the collective and towards society. It is time to act with competence and commitment in a better, fairer and more supportive future.
We must be oriented towards goals that captivate and motivate us, because only then will we be able, for the benefit and good of humanity, to contribute to the well-being of people and the success of Portugal.