MEP Nuno Melo just the latest to react critically to PS request to Brussels over accessible housing. Image: Homem de Gouveia/ Lusa
MEP Nuno Melo just the latest to react critically to PS request to Brussels over accessible housing. Image: Homem de Gouveia/ Lusa

Portuguese MEP quizzes Brussels on what it knows about PS Socialists’ ‘Venezuelan’ housing programme

Nuno Melo “wants to know if PM has deigned to inform Brussels” of his government’s plans

Portuguese MEP Nuno Melo has become the latest Opposition politician to put the boot in following PS Socialists’ ‘letter to Brussels’, essentially asking for help with housing.

Calling the party – and the prime minister – “the face of failure”, he told journalists today: “What I’m asking the European Commission to do right now is to find out, by the way, if António Costa has deigned to inform Brussels about restrictions in Portugal, which are of a nature that one sees perhaps in Venezuela.”

Mr Melo – also the leader of Portugal’s CDS-PP party (which lost its representation in parliament at the last elections) – has already written to Brussels on this topic, as he is concerned that the commission may not be aware of the restrictions enshrined in the Mais Habitação programme.

In his opinion the legislative package, vetoed by the president but due to be voted on exactly as it is now, and then resubmitted for what must be the president’s rubber stamp, is “almost totalitarian”, in that it “moves towards compulsory leases and violates the right to property, which is a constitutional right“.

“And on this I want to be very clear: prime minister António Costa and the ruling Socialist Party are the face of the failure of housing policy in Portugal for close to 16 years,” he went on.

António Costa, “first as mayor (of Lisbon) and now as prime minister, has made multiple declarations and proclamations about what he would do to solve the housing problem in Portugal, but has never actually done anything”, Nuno Melo insists, adding that in 2016, Mr Costa “promised an investment of €1.4 billion that would rehabilitate 7,500 homes to serve 35,000 families” and failed to deliver.

“After all these years, since 2016, not only has he not done anything, but the best thing he can think of now is to ask Brussels to build the houses for him, in a paradox that also helps to understand a habit that, unfortunately, because it is perverse, shows how António Costa reacts to failure!”

In Nuno Melo’s view, the prime minister “throws ideology on top of problems“, giving examples in the area of health with the end of public-private partnerships “in some of the best-run hospitals in Portugal” and, in education, with the end of some association contracts that allowed “poor schoolchildren to have opportunities in (private) schools”.

“And now, faced with the failure of the housing policy, António Costa, after promising and not delivering, is saying: come on Brussels, come and solve the problem for me”.

Nuno Melo also blamed opposition parties in parliament, labelling them “weak”, “not capable of doing what the CDS has always done with notable parliamentary groups every time it has held office”.

In Madeira, where Melo was speaking, the leader of the CDS, Rui Barreto – also the regional secretary for the economy in the regional PSD/CDS-PP coalition government – said that the Madeiran government has invested “heavily” in housing construction, aiming to make 800 homes available by 2026.

Unlike the mainland, which is all about publicity, we already have the machines and construction work underway to adjust supply to demand,” he said.

Rui Barreto also stressed that in Madeira there is “normality”, unlike the rest of the country, considering that in the region transport and public services (including health) are working and teachers “are in the classroom“.

Source material: LUSA