Lisbon tourist tax “illegality” signalled by Brussels

Lisbon’s controversial tourist tax could well be illegal as it contravenes EU laws outlawing “discrimination on grounds of nationality”.

So says European Commissioner for Justice Vera Jorouvá, who was questioned on the subject by PSD Euro MP Cláudia Monteiro de Aguiar, reports Lusa news agency.

While Jorouvá says Brussels does not have “detailed information” on the tax – brought in by Socialist leader António Costa while he was still mayor of Lisbon – she says the fact that Portuguese people are exempt puts tourists in an illegal “situation of disadvantage”.

Lisbon council, however, says it knows nothing of the EU stance.

The controversial tax that requires all visiting tourists to pay €1 for visiting the capital has been the subject of intense debate, with hoteliers, tourist chiefs and PSD MPs all against it.

ANA airports authority has since announced that it will take the onus from the capital’s visitors who fly in by plane this year by paying the tax itself – a move that will cost the company anything from €3.6 million to €4.4 million, say newspapers.