Our guest this week is the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Augusto Santos Silva, which closes the episodes from FLAD’s podcast with a golden key, in an interview about the impact of Donald Trump’s administration, expectations for Joe Biden’s presidency, and the strength of the U.S. Portuguese-descendant community.

He began his political activity in the early 1970s, with involvement in student protests against the dictatorship. He was head of the Student Association of the Faculdade de Letras from Porto, where he graduated in History and joined the Portuguese Socialist Party in 1990. Since then he has been in various political jobs. He was socialist deputy, Secretary of State for Educational Administration, Minister of Education and Culture with António Guterres, and Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and National Defense with José Sócrates.

In parallel, he received his PhD in Sociology from ISCTE-IUL and did the aggregation in Social Sciences at the University of Porto, where he is a Full Professor. In 2015, he took the lead in Portuguese diplomacy in the Government of António Costa.

In the latest episode of the FLAD podcast, the Minister of State and Foreign Affairs talks about what he considers to be the impact of Donald Trump’s administration on relations between the United States and its traditional allies, but also about what he hopes will be the path chosen by the future administration of Joe Biden.

“[Joe Biden] has already given sufficient signals, more than signs, has already made enough decisions to realize that the United States will return to its position as a protagonist, but a leading player in all that is the multilateral agenda of the United Nations and its organizations, to the major themes of the multilateral agenda, from Climate to Sustainable Development or International Trade.” – Augusto Santos Silva, Minister of State and Foreign Affairs.

The Minister stressed Portugal’s position in relation to the dispute with China, noting that, as a member of the European Union, the country shares a position much closer to that of the United States and that it knows how to distinguish its allies from its trading partners.

“Europe is not neutral in the dispute between the United States and China. Europe is much closer to the United States than it is to China. Europe forms with the United States a large geopolitical and institutional space that we usually call the North Atlantic or transatlantic connection, or, sometimes, the West.” – Augusto Santos Silva, Minister of State and Foreign Affairs.

At a time when the world is facing a challenge never before seen on a lived scale, that of the COVID-19 pandemic, Santos Silva defended the need to work together to face this type of threat – which includes climate change – realistically, without idealism and historical revisionisms.

“Epidemics, pandemics, the major global public crises are also very concrete and very harsh threats to our way of life. The best way to address these threats and risks is to work together. Working together does not mean erasing our differences, ignoring neither geography nor history, or disregarding our own interests, but it means dealing with it all, trying to take advantage of the interests and values that are common to us.” – Augusto Santos Silva, Minister of Foreign Affairs.

The Portuguese-American community: an asset for Portugal, but also for the U.S.

In this episode of the Atlantic Talks, Augusto Santos Silva took the opportunity to highlight the work of the Portuguese-American community in its political organization, highlighting the role of congressmen Jim Costa and Devin Nunes in organizing the Portuguese-American Caucus in the U.S. Congress, while also praising the associative work of organizations such as PALCUS, among others, and the Portuguese ambassadors in the USA, remembering that everyone benefits from this.

“We’ve had a lot of advantage of this. We, the Portuguese, and also the Americans. The fact that we now have interlocutors who perceive well the value of more than one million Portuguese and Portuguese-Americans living in the United States is an advantage.” – Augusto Santos Silva, Minister of State and Foreign Affairs.

The Minister recalled that the Portuguese-descendants in the U.S. have even gone further, giving the example of the Obama administration.

“We have already had a Secretary of Energy son of Portuguese parents, Ernest Moniz, of Azorean origin; President Obama’s Chief Political Adviser, David Simas, is an American son of Azoreans. In fact, I will never forget the very interesting way he explained how his mother made him understand how elections were won, how people were convinced, how the door-to-door was done. And we currently have Americans of Portuguese or binational origin in the U.S. House of Representatives. We have them in several Senates and Chambers of State Representatives and then we have in that almost infinite variety of job positions.” – Augusto Santos Silva, Minister of State and Foreign Affairs.

Don’t miss the new episode of the Atlantic Talks, now available where you usually listen to your podcasts. You can also find this episode in the links below.