The Porto Social Summit starting point was the formal sitting at Porto City Hall, where Mayor Rui Moreira handed over the Keys of the city to the highest representatives of the European Union, David Maria Sassoli, Charles Michel and Ursula von der Leyen, before the opening of the Social Summit, this afternoon, at Porto Customs Building. Rui Moreira stated that the city is “very honoured with the presence of the European Union Highest Representatives, today, in Porto and in our town hall. This is a meaningful visit, on the special occasion of the European Social Summit and the informal European Council as well as the European Union High level Summit with India”.
Mayor Rui Moreira handed over the Keys of the city of Porto to the President of the European Parliament, David Maria Sassoli, to the President of the European Council, Charles Michel and to the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, stating that “Porto - the city of Liberty – acknowledges with appreciation the huge solidarity contribution of the European Union during the last 35 years. Our country and our city have changed dramatically and positively, but we have pursue this task.”
During the ceremony, held at the Salão Nobre in the City Council, Rui Moreira thanked the Portuguese Prime Minister and current President of the European Union Council for his “personal commitment” and “for hosting these events in Porto”, thus “bringing the Highest Level European Institutions closer to our city and our Region.”
Recalling that the ongoing pandemic urges nations to come together to overcome social an economic challenges, Rui Moreira stressed that “cities have yet a bigger role to play”. The Mayor of Porto participated the day before at the Eurocities Conference, under the theme “shaping a stronger social Europe for a fair and inclusive recovery at the Cities Social Summit” and claimed, alongside other city representatives, for a more decentralised role in managing the pandemic recovery.
In his speech before the highest representatives of the EU and of the Prime Minister of Portugal, Rui Moreira affirmed that “we continue to believe that the European Project is an opportunity for a better future for all Europeans, in peace, freedom and prosperity.” He added that the city of Porto main goal is “to promote social and environmental sustainable development”, and gave the example of the Bonjóia Youth Orchestra, which had performed to honour the illustrious guests upon arrival at Porto City Hall and the project “Music for All”, both models for strengthening social cohesion through culture in the city, as they “establish a common platform to equal opportunities”, explained Rui Moreira.
The ceremony had a short list of invitees due to the ongoing pandemic and the health measures in place. In attendance were the European Commissioner for Cohesion and Reform, Elisa Ferreira, the President of the Municipal Assembly of Porto, Miguel Pereira Leite, and the Councillor for Housing and Social Cohesion, Fernando Paulo.
Following the formal sitting and the signing of the Honour Roll, all representatives were invited by the Mayor of Porto, Rui Moreira, to head to the City Hall balcony and enjoy the view of the city, facing the Avenida dos Aliados.
The event, hosted by the Portuguese presidency of the Council of the European Union will continue with a high-level conference with social partners today afternoon and an informal meeting of EU heads of state or government tomorrow, 8 May, at the Super Bock Arena.