Prime Minister António Costa has revealed that the Algarve is due to receive an additional €500 million in European Union funding until 2027.
The original €300 million that had been set aside for “the development of the region” has been increased to €600 million as part of the government’s Multiannual Financial Framework (Quadro Financeiro Plurianual). In other words, the Algarve will have access to “double” the amount it was due to receive in the next seven years.
Meanwhile, an additional €200 million of EU funding will be invested in the fight against the Algarve’s chronic water shortage issues, as stated in Portugal’s Recovery and Resilience Plan which was delivered to Brussels by Costa himself earlier this month.
Hopes are that this boost in funding will help the region overcome this latest crisis, which Costa admitted has hit the Algarve the hardest.
“It’s no coincidence that the Algarve is one of the regions where unemployment has been growing the most. It’s a consequence of tourism being one of the most important sectors as well as one of the sectors hit the hardest,” he said in Loulé on Friday (October 23) during the signing of a cooperation agreement between the local council and the Institute of Housing and Urban Rehabilitation.
According to the PM, the government thus has the responsibility of “contributing to the diversification of region’s economy” so that it can become more resilient to any crises that affect the tourism sector.
Costa added that this new package will be “especially important for a region like the Algarve”, which has often been forgotten when the time comes to distribute Portugal’s community funding, despite the Algarve’s pivotal contribution to the national GDP.
But does this mean the government will start to move forward with some of the region’s long-promised projects? According to Costa, the answer is yes.
The prime minister said that he has not forgotten about some of the “commitments we have made and which are underway”, such as the electrification of the Algarve’s railway, the construction of the Algarve’s Central Hospital, and new toll prices for the A22 given the “limitations of its alternative, the EN125”.
The boost in funding will also give the region the financial means it needs to tackle its constant water shortages, be it through “reducing the amount of water that is lost in the Algarve’s network or finding new supply sources”.
Said Costa, this plan is a “very serious commitment to the region” and will be “fundamental for the development of our country” as well as to make the Algarve not only a “great place to visit, but also a great place to live and work”.
Original article written by Maria Simiris for Barlavento newspaper.