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PCR Tests MUST Be Done in Country of Residence

In an address to European partners by videoconference the President of the Regional Government, Miguel Albuquerque, stated that the situation within the tourist sector remains critical and stressed the need for new measures to boost this sector.

The President spoke today, the 13th of October, at the Forum of the Outermost Regions (RUP), by videoconference, which brought together several political leaders, the European Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, Elisa Ferreira, senior officials of the European institutions, members of the governments of Portugal, Spain, France and Germany and the Presidents of the Outermost Regions to discuss the effects of the pandemic on social and economic issues that need political responses and decisions by the EU and the Member States, in order to promote the recovery of the Outermost Regions (OR’s).

In his speech the President addressed several issues – mobility, agriculture, ecological and digital transition – emphasising the difficulties experienced by the tourism sector and reiterating the urgent need for the implementation of measures already advocated and defended by the Government of the Autonomous Region of Madeira. this includes a requirement that PCR testing should be undertaken in the country of residence, not holiday destinations.  

The President also reinforced the vital importance of the tourist sector, reminding his audience of the dependence of the ORs, namely Madeira and Porto Santo, on tourism to a degree that surpasses most other European tourist regions, and after the complete inactivity dictated by lockdown, the situation remains critical particularly in the area of employment.

The President also stressed that agriculture is an essential sector for the ORs, both economically and socially. He found it incomprehensible that at a time of extreme crisis, the Financial Support for the EUs outermost regions ( POSEI) budget has been cut  by 3.9%.  Stating that “if there is a time when aid is needed, now is the time and a reduction in co-financing constitutes an inexplicable degradation of the Statute of the ORs in the field of agriculture.”

The President also warned of the dependence of the outermost regions on the outside world and the impact of reduced transport traffic, asking the various bodies present at the Forum to remain vigilant, as the behavior of this sector will greatly dictate the future of the RUP in the most diverse dimensions.

Miguel Albuquerque also called for special attention to the ORs in the context of legislative initiatives associated with the ecological and digital transition, so that companies and citizens are not prevented from accessing the instruments and measures necessary for the transition.

He went on to point out that in the current context there remains an “enormous degree of uncertainty,” and it is already unavoidable that we are moving quickly towards economic and social difficulties quite unthinkable until recently. To summarise he added “therefore, this is a privileged moment to firmly reaffirm the partnership between the Commission and the ORs.”

Miguel Albuquerque congratulated Commissioner Elisa Ferreira for her perseverance in holding the RUP Forum, and also expressed his deep gratitude for her firm and competent commitment to the defense of the outermost regions.

Finally, he added that the RUP Forum is an important platform for dialogue, which takes place every two years, within the framework of the specific partnership of the EU’s nine outermost regions – Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Martinique, Mayotte, Réunion, Saint-Martin, Azores, Madeira and Canary Islands – and its three Member States with the European Commission and other EU institutions.

On this occasion, the focus of the Forum centres on circular and blue economies, climate strategies and protection of biodiversity, in the context of the outermost regions, always with a view to sustainable development, as well as the economic recovery and the incentives to be granted to the outermost regions.

In addition, the meeting is taking place at a time of the utmost importance for the whole of Europe. The pandemic has posed major challenges to all member states and the economic recovery program advocated by the European Union will hopefully lead to a better future. However, negotiations are still ongoing on the 2021 – 2027 Community Support Framework. 

Samantha Gannon

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