The Prime Minister of Portugal, Dr. Mario Soares, returned to Lisbon on Monday (21 February)?
The Prime Minister of Portugal, Dr. Mario Soares, returned to Lisbon on Monday (21 February) after completing the first half of his European drive to win approval for his country's bid to join the Common Market (the European Economic Community).
SYNOPSIS: When his plane landed at Lisbon airport, Dr. Soares was greeted by members of the government and other officials. At a news conference in the airport reception lounge he warned the Portuguese people that there were years of hard work, austerity and sacrifice ahead. During the first leg of his European tour he had visited Britain, Ireland, Denmark, and Rome where he had been received by the Pope.
He will set off on the second leg next month visiting France, West Germany, Holland, Luxembourg, and Belgium. It will precede Portugal's formal application for membership of the Common Market. This bid by Portugal's minority Socialist government is supported by two opposition parties - the Social Democrats, PSD, and the centre-right CDS. But the powerful Portuguese Communist Party opposes the country's membership of the EEC. The Communists say it would lead to economic disaster for such an economically backward nation.
At the airport news conference, Dr. Soares said he believed entry into the EEC would help rather than hinder Portugal's march towards socialism. But the agreement of the workers was necessary to carry out the much needed programme of austerity.