Academic and cultural mobility is the starting point for free circulation, says new CPLP leader

The Executive Secretary of the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries (CPLP) said that academic and cultural mobility should be the starting point of a "difficult" process of facilitating the free movement of people in space lusophone

Lisbon, Portugal – The Executive Secretary of the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries (CPLP) said today that academic and cultural mobility should be the starting point of a “difficult” process of facilitating the free movement of people in space lusophone

In an interview with Lusa, diplomat Francisco Ribeiro Telles, who now takes office as executive secretary of the organization, considers that the starting point of free movement of people is “the joint proposal of Portugal and Cape Verde to create a regime of residence permits valid for all CPLP countries, based on the criterion of nationality, but which presupposes the reciprocal recognition of academic qualifications and professional qualifications and the portability of social rights. ”

It is “important to bring the CPLP closer to its citizens and find mechanisms to reinforce this objective. All of us, in one way or another, are aware that the CPLP still has difficulties in being perceived by citizens in the various member states, as an organization that provides it with certain advantages, “he said.

And he adds: “I think that the CPLP has to become more and more a true space of citizenship”.

In Santa Maria, Cape Verde, during the last CPLP summit of heads of state, mobility was highlighted as a central issue for the organization, recalls Ribeiro Telles.

“We can choose an intermediate path of achievement, starting with academic and cultural mobility. This is what is on the table, and in study, “he explained.

But this is not an easy process to achieve, unifying the regime of the nine states that make up the CPLP.

“We have to go step by step, be realistic and see what it is possible to do,” he added.

“It is my wish that at the end of my mandate, at the end of 2020, there may have been real progress in this area, but this does not depend on me, it depends on the will of the member states to choose this path.”

In the European Union it is very different, the states are in Europe, there is a geographical continuity, while in the CPLP its member states are scattered across four continents, and this makes the task of creating a mobility regime for citizens more difficult and complex, “says the diplomat, who points to culture and the oceans as other priorities of his mandate.

Francisco Ribeiro Telles, who replaces Maria do Carmo Silveira in the position of executive secretary of the CPLP, has the ambition “to consolidate the CPLP more and more in the international context and to value its potential.”

“My challenge is to take forward Cape Verde’s motto of the presidency: people, culture and oceans. This motto will be my constant reference,” he said.

It is “a pretty happy motto.Because it could not be more appropriate to illustrate the identity traits of the CPLP. ”

On the political context in which the CPLP executive secretariat will take the lead, he says that the “new scenario, with Angola’s new commitment to take over the CPLP presidency, is a sign that it attaches importance to the organization and sees it as an instrument useful and valid for its foreign policy “.

In relation to Brazil, “I also have no signs to the contrary” of the country’s commitment within the CPLP.

Regarding the crisis in Guinea-Bissau, he recalls that the CPLP even had a special representative in that country, a project suspended “due to financial difficulties.”

“What I see is that when there is a debate about what is happening in Guinea-Bissau, and especially in the United Nations, the CPLP is present and has an important voice in this debate,” he says.

“Guinea-Bissau will have elections, there will certainly be an election observation mission, and the CPLP must have a very constructive and very constant dialogue. In addition, I myself will have a daily dialogue with the country’s ambassador in Lisbon on forms and modalities in which the organization can further support the electoral process, “he said.

Regarding the behavior of Equatorial Guinea in the CPLP, Francisco Ribeiro Telles recalls that he is a “full member of the CPLP”, with the same “rights and duties” as the other states.

At the time of its accession an Equatorial Guinea integration roadmap was established, based on three premises: full use of Portuguese as the official language, abolition of the death penalty [still in force in the country], and incorporation of direct state norms democratic.

“This roadmap is still in force and it is up to the heads of state and government, not me, to do an analysis on this matter. That is what, let’s say, on the table,” he explained.

“The CPLP inscribes human rights as an essential value, but we will not teach morals to anyone,” said Ribeiro Telles, who played down the importance of his role in Malabo, ruled by Teodoro Obiang in a regime considered dictatorial by several organizations countries.

“I will keep in close contact with the authorities of Equatorial Guinea, I am sure that I will also be able to evaluate the progress that has been made, and I will encourage them to continue on the basis of these three premises that the CPLP has established,” he said.