Prime minister António Costa
Prime minister António Costa. Image: Image: Miguel A. Lopes/ Lusa

PM admits “availability” to reevaluate perks awarded company in revolving door polemic

But doesn’t think they are illegal: what is illegal is former Secretary of State’s career move

Prime Minister António Costa has today indicated the Government’s willingness to reassess the order signed by the former Secretary of State for Tourism Rita Marques over the company for which she is moving to.

Bloco de Esquerda has specifically requested this re-evaluation, in the general ‘outrage’ over Ms Marques’ latest career move.

Mr Costs responded during question time in parliament this afternoon: “If the question you ask is: are you going to check again if that establishment really deserves “tourism utility”, of course, it costs me nothing to do it again, to ask the Minister of Economy and Sea that the new Secretary of State carries out a re-evaluation according to the factuality ascertained by the tourism institute.” 

But he warned, this does not “lead to the conclusion that the government should annul the order” because “this is not illegal. What is illegal is that Rita Marques went to work for the company after having made that order”.

BE’s coordinator Catarina Martins was not satisfied. She believes the fact that World of Wine was granted “touristic utility” – bringing substantial tax benefits (media sources have described €5.4 million conceded to World of Wine during Ms Marques’ tenure; World of Wine being the company to which she is moving) – just nine days before last year’s legislative elections suggests it needs reassessment on the basis that Ms Marques might have been considering this decision (as a form of backstop, had the elections gone the wrong way).

It is now universally accepted that what Rita Marques is doing is against the law; unethical and indefensible. But what kind of censure the former secretary of State for Tourism really faces for ignoring the established ‘three year cooling off’ period, between helping legislate for a company and then working for it, remains to be established.