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Lack of Support for Madeira Worries Miguel Albuquerque

In a statement today, the President of Madeira, Miguel Albuquerque lamented the lack of support that the island has received from both the mainland government (PS) and the President of Portugal in response to the islands just demands for help in tackling the pandemic situation. Reacting to the apparent isolation of the island, Miguel Albuquerque stated that “none of Portugal’s power players – Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa (President) or Antònio Costa (Prime Minister) have spoken out in support for either Madeira or the Azores; showing the mainland’s position concerning its two autonomous regions.  He further commented that he looked forward to the national government meeting his just demands.”

In a recent communication to the mainland, Miguel Albuquerque said that he had outlined the priorities of Madeira.  Two of which, he said could easily be arranged and would not cost a penny to the State.

The archipelago intends to “expunge from the Regional Finance Law the limitations on the region’s indebtedness capacity, to resort to a loan, which would be paid by the region, to guarantee the channelling of funds to support employment and social initiatives.” Also, an extension of the two loan instalments for the economic and financial adjustment programme especially as the two instalments of forty-eight million euros, which are payable this June and in January 2021, includes eighteen million euros in interest payments.  The President went on to say that his stance has been to avoid conflicts and create a dialogue with the mainland government; a discussion that appears to be falling on deaf ears.

The chief executive stressed that from the beginning the Regional Government of Madeira took the Covid-19 threat to public health very seriously and from the first hour acted proactively in determining preventive measures to contain the spread of the virus in the archipelago.  Also, the region was able to “anticipate, thanks to the powers of political autonomy, all the containment and mitigation measures necessary.”

Our priority was defending the health of the population, and it makes no sense to establish a dichotomy between health and the economy. To date,” he added, “the measures adopted have been effective in the region, which has a low rate of contagion and has no deaths to mourn. On the other hand, the effects have been devastating for the island’s economy, which has led to the creation of direct and indirect social and economic support frameworks. These aim to not only complement national support but also to take into account the specific characteristics of the region and the business sector, composed mainly of small and medium-sized companies.”

He concluded by saying that if the condition in Madeira remains favourable in the coming weeks, restrictions will gradually relax.

Samantha Gannon

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Madeira Weekly