One of the concessions in touristic paradise of Praia da Luz setting up its sunshades

Brussels gives Portugal ‘beach concessions ultimatum’

Country has two months to bring law in line with EU directives

Just as the weather starts to hint at summer, Brussels has given Portugal a ‘beach concessions’ ultimatum.

The country has two months to bring legislation governing the allocation of concessions into line with EU law.

Right now, under Portuguese law, people/ families who have held beach concessions for years receive “the right of preference” – meaning it is well nigh impossible for newcomers to break into this niche market.

Beach concessions can involve just offering watersports/ sun-loungers/ café facilities and ice-creams or all these services rolled into one.

They are like gold dust – and, in the summer months, they earn those holding them small fortunes.

But the way Portugal ‘chooses’ who ‘wins’ these concessions is ‘all wrong’ in the eyes of Brussels – and cannot continue.

According to the Commission, the preferential right in favour of ‘historic operators’ is a disincentive to other businesses situated in other Member States.

To be fair, it is a disincentive to other businesses in Portugal, too.

It’s unclear what will happen if the government ‘fails to make the two-month deadline’.

Beach concessions tend to start operating in May, so whatever happens in two months time may be academic for the awarding of concessions for this summer.

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com