President Michel Temer has said that the “big reforms Brazil needs” should be addressed “outright”. In his traditional message sent to Congress to be read at the formal opening session of the annual legislative calendar, Temer said the proposals to change Brazil's retirement rules is the number one reform his government should address
“We all know that this is a delicate matter, but it can't be put off any longer. As it stands today, the Social Security system is short on budget while it faces demographic pressures. A reform is crucial to ensuring retirement tomorrow and a safer future for our youth,” he said, emphasizing the reform proposal sent to Congress is “serious and pressing”.
As for the labor reform, the president said that “sacred” rights will not be repealed. However, he went on, the rules governing labor relations need to be modernized and adjusted to the contemporary economy.
In addition to mentioning investments in health, education, the Bolsa Família conditional cash program and Minha Casa Minha Vida affordable housing programs, Temer went on to mention the current prison crisis in the country. He pointed out that the National Public Security Plan launched last month engages all levels of government, and has “specific targets for priority areas.”
“Crime has reached unacceptable levels in Brazil. We cannot let violence become trivial. Many prisons have become brutal places where organized crime reigns unimpeded. This is a serious phenomenon that requires a sound, coordinate response,” he wrote.
As he called for dialogue and harmony between the government and Congress, the president criticized the previous administration saying that “truth triumphed over illusionism” in 2016, and “confidence will triumph over gloom” this year.
“In our political history, we have stood for democracy and won. We fought an inflationary swirl and achieved a stable currency. We fought for social rights and advanced. Now we are fighting fiscal recklessness, recession, unemployment. We can be confident that we will win this stage too,” Temer told the lawmakers.
The presidential message was delivered to the new president of Congress, Eunício Oliveira (PMDB-CE), by Chief of Staff Eliseu Padilha.
As the ceremony opened, members of parliament observed a moment of silence in honor of the former first lady Marisa Letícia Lula da Silva, wife of former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who had been declared brain dead earlier yesterday (Feb. 2).
Translated by Mayra Borges