Regional reaction

Security arrangements in the Algarve are already under review in the light of the Spanish attacks. But speaking to The Resident, José Dias from the Algarve Tourist Board denied there was any cause for concern: “We have complete and absolute confidence in the authorities, our police and security forces. As for any changes in security plans following the incident in Madrid, the less we talk about that, the better.” Dias expressed his complete solidarity with the Spanish people and, speaking before last Friday’s telephone threat to the Correio da Manhã, expressed his personal view that an attack during Euro 2004 was unlikely. “I certainly don’t believe the events will deter people from travelling. The last time there was a terrorist attack on a sports ground was in 1972 (The Munich Olympics massacre) and we haven’t had any trouble since then.” Dias did not believe Portugal would be a likely al-Qaeda target. “The Spaniards were more closely involved in supporting the war in Iraq. The Spanish Prime Minister even went over to Washington, whereas Portugal’s involvement was more low-key,” he told us.

Economy Minister, Carlos Tavares, has also expressed his view that Portugal, and the Algarve in particular, are not a likely al-Qaeda terrorist target: “We are appalled by what has happened in Spain, but we are convinced Portugal will not have this problem,” he said. In spite of this, Tavares conceded that the Madrid bombings “will require a reinforcement of vigilance, in particular as the year will be marked by a huge international event such as Euro 2004”. He also said that the question of reinforcing borders with Spain, although not his area of responsibly, was currently under discussion in the Internal Administration Ministry. Tavares said that colleagues, “were considering all the measures it was possible to take”.