“We have to create the conditions for more Volkswagen vehicles to be made in Portugal than in Germany, it is the challenge we have”, said Miguel Sanches.
Previously, António Costa spoke with the director general of Volkswagen Autoeuropa about the production chains in Europe and the location of the engine factories, on which the Palmela plant depends.
The prime minister argued that “the distance is exactly the same” if the engines come from Poland to Portugal.
If they start to be produced in Portugal, “it is true that the distance to Germany is a little greater”, but “with an advantage: the borders are never closed, nor are they subject to incidents”, pointed out the head of the Government.
“We need volume, because the engine factories are installed next to the factories of greater volume”, stressed Miguel Sanches.
The director general of Autoeuropa also mentioned that 70 percent of Autoeuropa’s production is destined for the markets of Germany, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom and France.
During a visit to the plant Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa expressed “gratitude to Autoeuropa, its competence, its excellence, its quality, its capacity to adapt to the time we live in, to what it has created in the social environment and what it’s doing for the country”.
The head of state extended this thanks to all those in industry, agriculture, commerce and services “who are working to overcome difficult times and build a better Portugal” and to all those who at this time “are working across the country, without fear, without anguish, without anxiety”.
“Autoeuropa is an example, there are many, many examples throughout the country. We hope that the example of Autoeuropa will be an example that can be used across Europe as well. Here is the example of collaboration between Germany and Portugal. European level must be an example of the collaboration of all who form the European Union”, he added.
Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa reiterated the message that, in the current context of the Covid-19 pandemic, the European Union must respond with solidarity and affirming the values that were at the basis of the European project.
After a six-week break, Autoeuropa workers returned at the end of April to find out about the new health and safety procedures to be adopted at this stage and car production has resumed.
On 11 May, an official source from Autoeuropa confirmed to Lusa that a worker from Volkswagen Group Services, a Volkswagen group company that provides services at the Palmela plant, “tested positive for Covid-19”.
However, “the contagion chain did not occur at the factory and according to the technical guidelines of the General Directorate of Health, the patient is considered to be of low risk”, said the same source, adding that workers who were in contact with the infected person have been instructed to stay at home.