Marcelo warns in Palermo that Portugal, Italy and Spain have to be more innovative


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The President of the Republic warned today, in the Italian city of Palermo, that Portugal, Spain and Italy need to “be more innovative”, during a meeting of the business organization COTEC Europe, which brings together foundations for innovation in the three countries.

Speaking at the closing session of the 16th COTEC Europe meeting, this year dedicated to the theme “innovation in sustainable finance,” and held at the Teatro Massimo in Sicily’s capital, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa stressed that the phenomenon of climate change “is not fiction, it is the dramatic reality” and argued that sustainable development is “the great challenge of the future.

“In the face of climate change, we have had to act and, unfortunately, in too many cases, react. Climate action is inseparable from sustainable development, global, environmental, scientific, technological, intergenerational, fair, and therefore communitarian and truly human development. Has this sustainable development taken a long time to come about? It took too long. But today, and forever, it will be our great challenge for the future,” he declared.

Pointing out that “sustainable development means innovation and financing that innovation,” the President of the Republic, saluting the “alliance of vision” that makes up COTEC, created in 2005, then alerted to the need for the three southern European countries that form it to become leaders in innovation, noting that they are currently in the second half of the European Union table.

“We need to be, the three of us from our alliance, more innovative. In the European ‘ranking’ we are below average, we are “moderate innovators.” In 2022, the [European] average was 150 patents per million inhabitants. Italy has almost 100, Spain almost 50, Portugal below that,” he noted.

Using other statistical data, the head of state also pointed out that “employment in high-tech and knowledge-intensive sectors was less than 5% in our countries,” while “in the most innovative countries in Europe, it is between 7 and 10%.

“We have to go further, we have to take the lead in European innovation,” he challenged.

“Dear entrepreneurs, those who are in the front line of this fight are you, the companies, the entrepreneurs, the workers of these companies,” concluded Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, who participated in the 16th edition of the symposium that annually brings together foundations for innovation from Portugal, Italy, and Spain, along with the heads of state of Italy, Sergio Materella, and of Spain, King Felipe VI.

The COTEC Europe meetings have been organized since 2005 and are held annually in Spain, Italy, and Portugal, on a rotating basis – last year’s edition took place in Braga – and are attended by business leaders, policy makers, and academics from all sectors of economic activity, as well as by the heads of state of the three Southern European countries.

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