António Pires de Lima, economic minister of Portugal, visited Universidad Europea in Madrid and addressed members of the university community regarding the vital role of education and the need for more young people to become entrepreneurial. “I think that the future for today’s young people is much more uncertain. We appear to have left behind a period of acquired rights for one which has much more uncertainty, where more people are going to have to live outside their comfort zone.”
Pires de Lima spoke about Portugal’s recent history and noted the economic changes it has undergone. “Our reputation was really quite damaged, but over the last several years, due to the hard work and sacrifice of many people, we are recovering stability and developing confidence in our future.” Unemployment is one of the biggest challenges the Portuguese economy faces, as well as in Spain, and Pires de Lima addressed it directly, saying the current situation is unsustainable in a democratic system.
“Confidence and competiveness. These are the keys of the government’s program to repair the economic situation of the country,” said Minister Pires de Lima. He highlighted that through the program, Portugal has risen to the 25th position in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index. The country has also increased its ranking in the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index, going from 51 to 35 (just one spot behind Spain). He also highlighted the important relationship between Portugal and Spain and the fact that the countries have become increasingly interdependent.
“I want to make my country a country of opportunities. This is the vision I have for Portugal,” he said. He also highlighted the importance of generating confidence in young people so they can continue to build a brighter future, especially with the often negative commentary regarding the economy. About the current situation in Europe, he said he views both the United Kingdom and Greece as elemental parts of the continent and hopes they will both stay fully engaged. “Our greatest hope is for a more competitive and egalitarian Europe, with more opportunities for our young people through entrepreneurship.” He stated that this will require a cultural change so that people become more comfortable with risk and don’t stigmatize errors that must accompany all entrepreneurial activities. “Success is the offspring of mistakes. Making mistakes is the best way to learn and the best way for people to develop themselves.”
This article has been translated into English to be shared on the Laureate International Universities website.