Positive meeting between Algarve council chiefs ....jpg

Positive meeting between Algarve council chiefs …

Positive meeting between Algarve council chiefs and Cavaco Silva

MACÁRIO CORREIA, president of Tavira Câmara and AMAL, the entity representing the Algarve’s 16 borough councils, has described last week’s meeting between the region’s council chiefs and the President of the Republic, Cavaco Silva, in the Algarve, as being “very advantageous”. According to Correia, it served as a way for the President to “hear the worries and concerns of the representatives of the population”.

The Tavira council chief revealed that the quality and competitiveness of the Algarve formed the central points of the speech given by Cavaco Silva at the meeting last week. Apparently the President also emphasised the necessity of “working towards putting the coastline in order, the refurbishment of town centres and giving special attention to the interior and social inequality”.

During his meeting with the council chiefs, the President also took the opportunity to raise his concerns over the level of construction in the Algarve. He emphasised the need “to preserve the qualities that differentiate the Algarve from other tourist destinations, of which there are many these days” and essentially “to resist the pressure to build”.

Macário Correia explained that Cavaco Silva insisted on the necessity for council presidents to “think more collectively”, emphasising the fact that “the region’s major projects need to be worked on together”.

One of the issues of concern raised by the council residents was the amount of European Community funding foreseen for the 2007/2013 period, as well as the new laws of the local finanças that plan to reduce the amounts transferred from the Government to the local councils.

Correia considers the European Funding proposition, negotiated by the Portuguese Government in Brussels, very detrimental for the Algarve. “We are evidently very worried, because we are talking about developing the region over the coming years, but development cannot be made without public and private investment”.

For the president of Tavira Câmara, this investment is quite prejudiced by a cut of 75 per cent in the amount destined for the region. “On one hand, this gives us the impression that we are developing, but on the other, it is an abrupt cut, because in other regions, as in the cases of Astúrias, Mürcia and southern Italy, the reduction is gradual.” he said.

Recognising the fact that it is “a delicate subject” Correia says he is waiting for explanations from the Socialist Government led by José Socrates, although he is not pleased about the time it is taking to get a response. “We have been insisting for some months already, but the Government has not offered any explanations or agreed to hear our views, nor indicated how it can compensate and co-operate with us in a constructive way,” he lamented.

The president of AMAL explained that the Algarve councils are “not against anyone” but “want to work in partnership with the Government to overcome the difficulties”.

No news on licensing property for rental purposes issue

There had been rumours circulating in the media that the issues relating to compliance with property licensing legislation (for rental purposes) would be raised by council chiefs at the meeting with Cavaco Silva. On contacting Macário Correia this week, The Resident´s Caroline Cunha was told, “the situation remains unchanged, the current law must be complied with”, however he did not confirm whether or not the issue was actually discussed.

The visit of Cavaco Silva began in the morning with the meeting with the Algarve câmara presidents, which was followed by a lunch at the Vila Sol resort in Vilamoura with the council chiefs and various local business people. Afterwards, the President held a meeting with several tourism investors. The day ended with a visit to Tavira for a presentation of a pioneering solar thermal energy project (see separate article below).