MEPs criticise EU funds for Madeira

Calls for “greater justice”

Aerial view of Madeira - the subject of calls to allocate funds more fairly

Social Democrat MEPs sent an open letter yesterday to Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa, Planning Minister Nélson Souza and European Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, Elisa Ferreira, criticizing the criteria for distributing funds to Madeira.

In the letter, MEPs Cláudia Monteiro de Aguiar, Paulo Rangel, Lídia Pereira, José Manuel Fernandes, Álvaro Amaro and Graça Carvalho contested the fact that the only criterion is population because, in regions such as Madeira, this implies a “significant reduction of funds for the period 2014-2020”.

For this reason, the Social Democrats called for “greater justice” in the distribution of funds for Portugal 2030.

In their opinion, the Government must take into account the specificities of each region, especially the most isolated and ultra-peripheral ones, as only in this way can the “very marked asymmetries” between the various regions of the national territory be corrected.

Without a “detailed” adaptation to the specificities of each region, there will be a development process at various speeds, continuing to “vote the interior and the ultraperiphery to an isolation that will condemn the country as a whole”, they emphasized.

Fund allocation needs to be corrected immediately

“It is, therefore, with great concern that we are faced in the negotiations for Portugal 2030 funds with situations that, if not corrected immediately, can easily slip into the field of inequality and injustice, further increasing the gap between regions”, said the MEPs.

The MEPs underlined that in negotiations relating to this fund, the executive insists on a criterion based on the number of inhabitants in each region to define the allocation of funds, providing for small increases considered to be compensatory, but which fall far short of what is necessary.

“This criterion, which seems unfair to us, not only does not take into account the specific characteristics and needs of the region but does not take into account the fact that, in the EU-27 total, Portugal has a total allocation equivalent to 9.3% of this Fund”, they said.

The Regional Government of Madeira demands the maintenance of the values ​​for the 2014-2020 period to face a very demanding period which, according to the Social Democrats, is of “the most elementary justice”.

MEPs recalled that Madeira was not included in the national plan regarding the Fair Transition Fund and has limited access to the Connecting Europe Mechanism and should therefore be the target of a compensation process which can and should be carried out by the Fund for Cohesion.

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