The Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa synthesized how he only knows the essence of the relationship between China and Portugal, translating in a simple, clear and affectionate way the omnipresent specificity of Macau, which combines the ancient Chinese wisdom and the Portuguese frenzy.
Bilateral relations between Lisbon and Beijing are experiencing a deepening momentum at various levels, having been raised to a new level now with annual meetings at the level of foreign ministers. The focus on cultural exchange and education has seen new developments, notably with the important announcement of the Macau Government's support for the creation of a new center of the MacauPortuguese School, an institution that has affirmed itself as a key instrument, providing an indispensable service to three parts: Macau, Lisbon and Beijing. The tone of Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa was happy, correct and adequate, having expressed conviction and hope of seeing Macau maintain the differentiating characteristics up to and beyond 2049, being the Portuguese language a structuring pillar.
There may, however, be more attention to the role of the Forum for Economic and Trade Cooperation between China and Portuguese-speaking Countries. In fact, despite recent steps forward, Portugal's commitment to the Forum is still insufficient. And Lisbon has much to gain by complementing, from a positive summing-up perspective, the strengthening of bilateral relations with a more proactive attitude towards this multilateral instrument. Especially at this stage where the role of Macau as a Plataform sino-lusophone has been framed in the development plan of Greater Bay Area. In this regard, it is worth taking note of the statements of the Deputy Secretary General of the Forum Rodrigo Brum, who said last week that the Greater Bay Area project is a major challenge not only for Macau but also for the Portuguese-speaking countries. The issue is also addressed in this Plataforma edition by the lawyer Rui Cunha, who, in the foundation he presides, has been developing a work of enormous value in promoting the right of Macau and in the dialogue with the space of Greater Bay Area.
It is in this context that we are launching today the new monthly supplement Plataforma Greater Bay Area, where we contribute to a better understanding of a dynamic and stimulating reality that is right next door. Greater Bay Area is at the door and this city has a duty to be up to the challenge. With ambition, openness to the outside, reinforcement of the Plataforma with lusophony, and maintenance of autonomy - including the catalog of rights, freedoms and guarantees - thus contributing, in a relevant way, to the national development process. Therefore, Macau will always be Macau.