António Costa was speaking to journalists in São Bento, after receiving audience representatives of associations of the textile and clothing sectors, who offered him a box with copies of some of the approximately 2,500 models of community masks already certified and which were produced by Portuguese companies.
"The use of the mask is indispensable. And the use of the reusable mask produced by the Portuguese industry achieves three in one. Being reusable is environmentally friendly, protects us against the pandemic, but also protects the jobs of those who work in textile companies", he justified.
António Costa stressed that the acquisition of national masks "protects the environment, protects health and employment".
"Let's use these masks. There are for all tastes and shapes. Some more colourful, some more sober, some with more design, some with less design, but all protect us against Covid-19, all protect our economy and the environment", he added.
With the president of the Portuguese Textile and Clothing Association, Mário Jorge Machado, at his side, the Prime Minister, in his brief speech, began by thanking "the enormous effort to readapt to the new reality" of this national productive sector throughout the months of the Covid-19 pandemic.
"We are facing a very hard reality of market downturn and sometimes of supplier breakdown. But [the sector] has managed to reinvent itself, producing something that is now absolutely indispensable to the daily lives of citizens: Masks and personal protective equipment for professionals in the health sector, or in other sectors where this same equipment is vital," António Costa said.
The Prime Minister then recounted an episode he observed in the marathon negotiation of the last European Council, in July, in Brussels, which lasted five days, but in which the member states managed to reach an agreement around the Multiannual Financial Framework 2021/2027 and the Recovery and Resilience Programme.
"In that marathon, the first point where a great consensus was possible was about the enormous quality of the masks produced by Portuguese industry," he said.
Before starting the work of that European Council, António Costa offered masks made in Portugal to the heads of state and government of other European Union countries.
The president of the Textile and Clothing Association of Portugal, who spoke on behalf of various entities representing the sector, thanked António Costa for his initiative to offer masks to his European counterparts.
"We, the textile sector, understand that we should reciprocate this gesture. We brought some masks to show what the textile sector has been doing in terms of innovation capacity, adaptation and speed in the development of this range of products. I think they contributed to help our health system," said Mário Jorge Machado.
This entrepreneur then said that the textile industries "are going through a difficult phase in terms of economy and orders" and that all these companies are looking for alternatives to overcome the crisis.
"More than 2500 models of different masks have been approved. There was a great solidarity of the companies", he added.