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‘A Happy and Fruitful Achievement’

The President of the Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, stressed today that regional autonomy is “one of the happiest and most fruitful achievements of democratic Portugal, and that it is an element of national cohesion that heals conflicts instead of fostering them.” 

Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa marked the Day of the Autonomous Region of Madeira and Madeiran Communities around the world with a personalised message published on the Presidency websiteThe President himself was taking part in a bilateral ceremony with the King of Spain, in Elvas and Badajoz, to mark the reopening of land borders between the two countries. 

His note read, “officially, the celebrations are restricted to the Autonomous Region, but, in substance, this is a celebration of the whole of Portugal. Because the regional autonomy, which we note today, was one of the happiest and most fruitful achievements of democratic Portugal. The autonomy of Madeira and the Azores is an element of national cohesion, a feature of unity among the Portuguese, which unites rather than separates, which heals conflicts instead of fostering them.” 

“I am proud that, both as a constituent, in 1975-1976, and as one of the politicians responsible for the constitutional revisions of 1982 and 1997, I have fought since the very beginning for the autonomy of island regions and for the legitimate interests and desires of both the Madeiran and Azorean people.” 

The President further pointed out that “the autonomic experience, created under the 1976 Basic Law and enriched by subsequent constitutional revisions, has been a crucial factor for the economic and social development of Madeira and Porto Santo, and for the significant improvement in the living conditions of its populations.” 

In the message released today, the President of the Republic salutes “the people of the Autonomous Region of Madeira and gives thanks to the extraordinary example of courage and strength they have given. He further thanked Madeiran communities across the globe whom he said did so much to promote Portugal. Regrettably, he said that this year’s festivities have been affected by the pandemic, and he was saddened that the official ceremonies scheduled in Madeira and South Africa were unable to go aheadHe concluded by saying that hopefully next year the celebrations will take on a happier note across Madeira, Porto Santo and those Madeiran communities living across the globe. 

Samantha Gannon

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