Press Conference with the Portugese Prime Minister (9 Jul 07)
9 July 2007
The EU treaty agreed in Brussels was a success for Britain, the Prime Minister has said.
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Ladies and Gentlemen I am delighted that my first foreign visitor to No 10 should be the President of the European Union Council of Ministers and the Prime Minister of Portugal. The alliance between Britain and Portugal started more than 600 years ago, it is not only long standing, but it runs deep in our history and there is daily contact and cooperation between our two countries. And I congratulate the Prime Minister on the growing economic success of his work in Portugal as it recovers growth, lowers its deficit and creates new jobs.
Now Portugal’s Presidency ..................... LER TUDO NA LIGAÇÃO ACIMA INDICADA.
I agree with you, and I see no problem with Great Britain in completing the treaty. The importance in my point of view is once again to take the momentum to do the job very quickly, to do the new treaty as soon as possible. And I remembered I have the mandate very clear on my mind and it is very perfect, it is very perfect. I understand Great Britain is one of the countries that needs to confirm of course all the details of the negotiation will be clear on the treaty, but once again I anticipate no problems with Great Britain.
There are some reports this morning that there may be progress in the investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann this week. Have you been discussing the case and can you tell us about any progress at all?
Well I have raised the case with the Portuguese Prime Minister. I thanked him for the work that the Portuguese authorities have done, this has been a very detailed investigation and it is one that has involved not just the authorities in Portugal but the authorities right across Europe and in some cases beyond Europe. So we are grateful to the Portuguese authorities for the time and the effort and the dedication that is being put into this investigation. I have talked to Madeleine McCann’s parents, I have heard from them their appreciation of the work that has been done in this investigation. Obviously there are issues that they want to be assured about and I have raised these with the Portuguese Prime Minister. He has assured me that everything that can be done will be done and obviously we look for progress in what is something that is heart-rending in its sadness that a young child should be separated from her parents for so long with so little news of what has happened to her and at such a tender age.
This investigation, it is important for Great Britain of course but it is so important for Portugal and it is very touching in public opinion in Great Britain, but also in Portugal. And we have dedicated to this investigation all the resources we have in order to give it high priority and we are doing our best and I think everyone in Portugal, and the family, knows that we are doing our best.
This is a question for both of you. Four years ago the British refused to sit at the same table with Mr Mugabe. Is the situation going to change at the next summit in December?
There is going to have to be a diplomatic solution found to this because of the difficulties that we have.
I think it is very clear for the European Council that Europe needs a broad political dialogue with Africa and the European Council wants that Portugal organise the next European-Africa Summit and we are working on that. But as the Prime Minister said, we have several diplomatic problems that are needed to be overcome and we are dealing with that and we are doing our best to overcome those problems.