Bungled negotiations could see Portugal losing out on €3.6 billion of available community funding.
The claim comes from social democrat MEP José Manuel Fernandes.
Speaking in Vieira do Minho (Braga district) over the weekend, Fernandes challenged Socialist leaders to “rapidly alter (their) strategy and position” regarding the next round of talks to set the
‘multiannual financial framework’ for the years 2021 to 2027.
He stressed that Strasbourg seeks to ‘defend the financial envelope for Portugal’, but that for this to happen “disastrous negotiations” led by former planning and infrastructures minister Pedro Marques – now a candidate in the EU elections – must be reversed.
These negotiations have resulted in a ‘deal’ in which Portugal could end up receiving €1.6 billion less in Cohesion Policy, €500 million less in direct aid to farmers and €1.2 billion less for rural development”, he said.
“There are also cuts of almost 300 million euros in fisheries, ultraperipheral regions and market support”, the MEP warned, explaining that taken as a whole, the decrease in funding to Portugal would be €3.6 billion euros – precisely at a time when European funding represents 85% of public investment in this country.
Fernandes’ choice of Vieira do Minho was ‘apt’ in that it is a region that is already reeling through lack of investment.
Borough mayor António Cardoso – himself a candidate in the upcoming European elections – told the audience that there is a lack of conditions in various areas, particularly the local health centre and secondary school.
He said: “today, when we think of public investment, we can only turn to European funding as the State no longer has decentralised investment plans or programmes”.