“For the first time I feel there is reason to be optimistic”
Portugal’s President of the Republic has said that he is optimistic “that the foundation stone of Lisbon’s new airport, which has been planned for over 50 years, will be laid” before the end of his term in 2026.
“For the first time I feel there’s reason to be optimistic (…). I’ll just say that today I’m optimistic because I was afraid I’d get to the end of my term without even getting started, seeing the first stone of the airport,” said Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa in Albufeira on Wednesday.
The Independent Technical Commission (CTI) will have to deliver a report to the government by December 31 with the conclusions of its work, indicating the best solution for the future airport in the Lisbon region.
Speaking at the closing session of the conference “Tourism – a factor in national cohesion,” the president said that he now “begins to believe that we will see some of the stones of the airport (…) being laid according to what we will find out at the end of the year”.
Said the head of state, the construction of the new airport “is a recurring theme” with which he has been “buffeted at a truly frightening pace for several years now” by the president of the Portuguese Tourism Confederation.
“It’s not his fault, it’s the objective circumstances that are to blame and there’s no point in blaming them now, because I think they’re collective,” he noted.
He also targeted the government, saying that the “solution that political systems find when they don’t want to take responsibility for decisions is to put technicians in charge of making political decisions”.
“It is to be hoped that the technicians don’t turn into politicians and don’t come to have the existential anguish that the politicians wanted to avoid by handing the matter over to the technicians,” said Marcelo.
“There isn’t much time left either, because there are only three months to go.”
However, he said he had one doubt: “which of us will still be alive when the whole process is completed (…) because it implies changes in other realities, from airports to the military and others in Portuguese society.”