AMAL attacks new municipalities list

AMAL, the Algarve Municipalities Association, has vehemently criticised the new set of rules defining which municipalities qualify for the list of the least densely populated – ‘Municípios de Baixa Densidade’ – and says it will be putting forth its own counterproposal.

As the Resident reported last week (see story, many of the region’s “most fragile” boroughs have been left off the list – and will thus face extra difficulties receiving community funding.

Vila Real de Santo António mayor Luís Gomes even labelled the new rules “an attack on the Algarve”.

Now, AMAL has come out to express its “displeasure and feeling of discrimination” with the new rules.

“It is yet another public policy of the government that contributes nothing to the reduction of seasonality, especially in terms of developing new activities that complement the region’s main touristic product,” the association states in a press release.

AMAL stresses that it doesn’t agree with the criteria used to classify which areas are considered “low density”, accusing the government of failing to correct the proposal so that it wouldn’t “penalise and discriminate against the Algarve”.

It is added that the Algarvean municipalities, alongside other regional authorities, will be proposing some changes to the list so that it reflects “the reality of the inland areas of the region”.

As reported last week, the 164 boroughs on the list will get priority when bidding for community and national funding programmes.

In terms of the Algarve, only Aljezur, Vila do Bispo, Monchique, Castro Marim and Alcoutim made the grade.

The goal of the plan, according to the National Association of Portuguese Municipalities (ANMP), is to “attenuate differences” between the country’s inland and coastal regions.

Says ANMP, the main criteria used to define who made the list includes the municipalities’ “population density”, as well as other factors such as their “socioeconomic situation and accessibilities”.