Madeira: Unvaccinated banned from restaurants, bars, cinemas, hairdressers and events
President of the Regional Government of Madeira, Miguel Albuquerque Photo: HOMEM DE GOUVEIA/LUSA

Madeira rocks Portugal’s boat

“Is it worth remaining within the Portuguese Republic?” questions regional president

Regional president of Madeira Miguel Albuquerque has wondered out loud whether it is worth the autonomous region remaining within the Portuguese Republic.

The reason for his exasperation is the State Budget – and what it isn’t giving Madeira this year.

Back in October when the budget was first mooted Mr Albuquerque was bitterly critical of what he called an “unacceptable and grotesque” €12 million euro reduction in money coming into the region.

Now, this reduction appears to have increased to €15 million.

“The infamous regional finance law” which covers provision for Madeira and Azores needs “urgent revision” if the archipelago is to be allowed to develop, he said during an official engagement in Calheta.

Madeira suffered acutely through the pandemic, registering crippling losses in revenue from tourism while at the same time being hit with extra expenses on the virus-combat front.

“The State continues to dishonour its responsibilities to the regional autonomous”, said Mr Albuquerque. “This has to stop, because if we continue this way, the question I have is ‘is it worth continuing to be integrated in the Republic?”

Coming as they did in a week where central government was fully occupied elsewhere, Mr Albuquerque’s comments have been given scant media exposure. They do however flag a growing discontentment that is leading towards dangerous territory.

PAN Madeira meantime has queried where Mr Albuquerque imagines he could raise the €500 million the archipelago receives from central government every year if he slammed the door on being part of the Republic.

The regional president should have “more ethics and responsibility”, says the minority party.

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