“Let’s talk about regionalization” was the motto of the debate which brought together, at the Cineteatro Garrett, in Póvoa de Varzim, the mayor, Aires Pereira, and, at his invitation, the mayor of Porto, Rui Moreira. And both were not held back in their negative assessment of current intentions to move forward with the process of regionalization and, before that, decentralization.
Starting from this last theme, Rui Moreira could not be clearer: “This decentralization is a lie. You end a great start. [A descentralização] It cannot be used to plug holes in the fields of education, health or social solidarity. In desperation, they want to pass this on to the municipalities, that is, pass on the existing debt, with the connivance of the National Association of Municipalities (ANMP),” the mayor of Porto pointed out.
And on the performance of the ANMP, the mayor of Porto, as well as that of Póvoa de Varzim, have not spared criticism of the current management, led by the mayor of Matosinhos, Luísa Salgueiro. “We have decided to seize the bodies of local authorities [do Porto] a statement in which we said that the National Association of Municipalities is not mandated to negotiate funds on behalf of the Municipality. What did the ANMP do? Taba razed and negotiated with the government the allocation of 20,000 euros per school. In our name, they could not do this trade. This is why we want to leave the ANMP“, recalled Rui Moreira.
A similar position was expressed during the debate by the mayor of Póvoa de Varzim. “It has been a long time since we felt represented by the ANMP, which, in the case of education, negotiated this type of transfer on behalf of our municipality,” said Aires Pereira, revealing that the executive de Poveiro planned to present, in the local municipal bodies, “a proposal to approve the departure of the municipality of Póvoa from the ANMP. If we do not express this disagreement, everything will remain the same”.
“Currently, the ANMP is not on the side of the municipalities, but on the side of the government. I cannot feel represented by those who have a government political program,” added the mayor of Poveiro.
“I fear that by 2024, this [a regionalização] go for a walk in the water bath”
The two mayors also have doubts about the regionalization process. “I do not know if the question of regionalization will solve the current macrocephaly of the country, which is addicted to a colonial culture”, guaranteed the mayor of Porto, for whom it is necessary to have “a serious debate on the sharing of power”. For example, as happened during the creation of the autonomous regions”.
But, “we all realize that there will be no regionalization process because they depend on the success they have in decentralization”, said the mayor of Póvoa de Varzim.
Doubts also remain about the holding of a referendum on the subject, scheduled for 2024. “I fear that until then it will happen in a bain-marie”, assured Rui Moreira, who left a guarantee: “If it’s to do the same thing as they did with decentralization, I say because I don’t want to”.
“I want a regionalization that gives us power. I am only interested in political-administrative regionalization. If it’s just administrative, everything will be linked as is,” he added.
Also for Aires Pereira, regionalization “does not go there other than with a referendum, but not trapped as it happened in 1998. I suspect that all this will end in the same way”.
“Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport has managed to attract services that have replaced, well, TAP”
Still on regionalization, and prompted to comment on TAP, the mayor of Porto reiterated all the criticisms he made about the management of the company. “I don’t know if the issue of regionalization will solve the country’s macrocephaly, of which TAP is just one among many,” he said.
In addition to not understanding the reason for the renationalisation of the national airline – “the private sector was very happy because they got rid of a problem – Rui Moreira is of the opinion that the North region should do everything to bring other airlines (flagged or low cost) to Francisco Sá Carneiro airport“So far, the airport has managed to attract services that have rightly replaced TAP”.
“The restructuring plan aims to make TAP an imperial company at the service of the capital”, he added, giving as a bad example of this process the existence of an air bridge between Lisbon and Porto, which does not is more useful for “empty the port of passengers, using Lisbon airport to serve its hub”.
After the participation of the two mayors, a debate followed with the public, highlighting the presence of councilors of the two executives, as well as the president of the Municipal Assembly of Porto, Sebastião Feyo de Azevedo.