Prime Minister António Costa said today that “connecting people from all over the world” is in Portugal’s DNA and wished Portuguese companies present at the Web Summit “to find partners, new markets, more capital.”
The prime minister spoke at the official launch of the Web Summit, considered the largest summit of technology, innovation and entrepreneurship, which will take place in Lisbon until Thursday.
In a speech mainly in English, the head of government said that “Portugal is an open country to the world that values freedom and believes in innovation as the engine of progress.”
“Connecting people from all over the world is in our DNA,” stressed António Costa, who recalled that Portugal began 600 years ago to connect Europe with Africa, Asia, America, alluding to the Portuguese Discoveries.
“Next year we celebrate 500 years since the first circumnavigation of the globe by Fernão de Magalhães,” he continued, adding that since then the Portuguese have always been “a meeting point between people and cultures”, a “hub” for migration, an engine for global trade. ”
“We have not forgotten and learned from the darkest side of our history, from slavery to religious intolerance” under the Inquisition and the regime of dictatorship “lived in the middle of the twentieth century,” he continued.
“These days have taught us openness and freedom,” he said, noting that Portugal has learned to love the freedom of each and others to respect each other’s beliefs, ways of life, sexual orientation, genre.
“We have learned that only freedom allows creativity, technological innovation and entrepreneurship,” he said.
The prime minister reaffirmed that it is with enthusiasm that Portugal receives the Web Summit in the next 10 years.
“To Portuguese companies, I want you to find partners here, new markets, more capital, new human resources, and you are our ambassadors at the Web Summit, good work and a great week,” he said in Portuguese.
To foreign participants, António Costa said he was enthusiastic to welcome them, not only to the Web Summit, but also to live in Portugal, work or invest in the country.
“Welcome to Portugal, welcome to the Web Summit,” he concluded. “Let’s all enjoy this week in Lisbon. Be free, creative, connect. Welcome to Portugal, welcome to the Web Summit.”
The technological, innovation and entrepreneurship summit Web Summit was born in 2010 in Ireland and moved to Lisbon in 2016 and is expected to remain until 2028 at the Altice Arena (formerly Meo Arena) and the Lisbon International Fair (FIL) in Lisbon.
The 2018 edition, the third in Lisbon, runs until Thursday, counting with 70,000 participants and about 2,500 volunteers.
Last year, the event gathered around 60 thousand people from 170 countries, including 1,200 speakers, two thousand ‘startups’, 1,400 investors and 2,500 journalists.