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Lisbon Must Act

During a recent presentation the Vice President of the Regional Government commented at length on the Economic and Social Development Plan 2020-2030. This plan foresees expenditure of 5.6 billion euros in projects for the next decade aimed at six strategic challenges: innovation and knowledge [108M €], regional value chains [1,371 M €], skills qualification [322 M €], climate action and sustainable mobility [2,249 M €], employment and social inclusion [1,010 M €] and recovery and resilience [543 M €]. He stated categorically that it is “urgent” that Lisbon assumes “solidarity in order to help the Autonomous Region of Madeira” especially as the island is going through a particularly difficult time due to the pandemics effect on tourism. He reminded his audience that the President of Portugal, António Costa, was elected to govern the country and Madeira is part of that country.

He went on to say that “the prime minister was not elected to govern just the continent’s territory. He represents all Portuguese citizens, regardless of whether they reside in one of the two autonomous regions within his administration, even though Madeira/Porto Santo and the Azores have some autonomy. But some autonomy is not complete independence, and the mainland government has not realised this distinction.”

According to the forecasts of the regional executive released this week, European support for Madeira will come via the Recovery and Resilience Plan [859 million euros], between 2021 and 2026, and the multiannual framework [948 million euros] , between 2021 and 2027 (+2)]. In addition, funding will also be provided via the new REACT programme [for immediate response to the pandemic] plus funds for agriculture and fisheries.

If this additional aid comes through, the Regional Government expects to receive more than 2.1 billion euros in the coming years, ands if this happens it will indeed be a ‘historic’ occasion.

Of course, with regards to autonomy, where does the division of responsibility lie?

Samantha Gannon

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