President Barroso at the "Portugal in the World" conference
Speaking on Monday at the conference that celebrated the 40 years of Portuguese weekly newspaper Expresso, President Barroso reviewed Portugal's political, economic and social developments since the country entered the EU.
"Joining the European Union meant, for all Portuguese, a formidable change. In less than a generation, our quality of life has changed deeply: child mortality and illiteracy was reduced, a modern network of infrastructures was created, and investment was made in education, research and development. And the role of the European Union, its policies and funds was essential for this economic and social progress and for the modernisation of our country", he said.
The President said that the economic crisis is a chance to redefine the direction of the country, its society and its economy. "It is necessary to take this opportunity to reform our country, reform that can and should be made within the framework of the European Union".
On 3 January, speaking at the Ambassador's seminar in Lisbon, President Barroso stressed that the European Union is not the cause of the current crisis, but indeed a significant driving force in the process of finding the solution. He firmly defended the synergy effect a united Europe brings to the individual Member States, especially in terms of the internal market and an increased influence in the world.