Mariana Vieira da Silva (right), Ana Abrunhosa (centre) and agriculture minister Maria do Céu Antunes (left)
Mariana Vieira da Silva (right), Ana Abrunhosa (centre) and agriculture minister Maria do Céu Antunes (left), at today's press conference at the end of the Council of Ministers, held in Castelo Branco, and looking like quite an expensive affair. Image: PAULO NOVAIS/LUSA

Programme for interior sees €6.6 billion investment, 34,000 jobs – minister

Ana Abrunhosa gives “very positive assessment” of Programme for Enhancement of Interior 

Investments of €6.6 billion approved in Portugal under the government’s Programme for the Enhancement of the Interior have made it possible to safeguard or create 34,000 jobs, the minister for territorial cohesion, Ana Abrunhosa, announced today.

At the end of a regular weekly cabinet meeting, held on Thursday in Castelo Branco, Abrunhosa also revealed that measures to attract people to the interior, including the Regressar (Return) programme aimed at emigrés, have brought 2,800 people to these territories.

The “Work in the Interior” programme, for example, provides a maximum of €4,800 to people moving from Portugal’s coastal regions to the interior, while the Regressar programme provides a subsidy of up to €7,600 for people coming from abroad to Portugal’s interior.

According to the minister, Castelo Branco district was the most sought after among people who moved from the coast to the interior of the country, with around 300 people having taken up that incentive, and received the second-largest number of people previously residing abroad, at around 200.

Abrunhosa also cited data on support to companies under incentive systems for the interior that show 3,000 projects having been approved in these territories, for a combined investment of €3 billion.

“Therefore, I would say that it is a very positive assessment regarding the numbers of this programme,” she said.

The Programme for the Enhancement of the Interior was approved in cabinet in July 2018 and revised in 2021.

Currently, according to the minister, it has four dimensions: people, companies, territory and border, and scientific and technological system.

The government has decided to resume holding cabinet meetings around the country; today’s was the first under the “Closer Government” initiative.

In many ways, this initiative could not have been revived (it began early 2020, but had to be suspended due to the pandemic) at a better moment: PS Socialists’ popularity has fallen in the polls, putting rival PSD social democrats slightly ahead for the first time in years.

Minister in charge of the Council of Ministers, Mariana Vieira da Silva, has sought to downplay this development, returning to the well worn mantra of the government being focused on delivering its policices, and giving the Portuguese the stability they have so long desired.

Source material: Lusa