Some municipalities in the Porto Metropolitan Area were concerned this Friday with the distribution of the 45 billion euros that the country will receive from the European Recovery Fund, fearing that the region will once again be passed over.
“The bazooka, as they wanted to call it, seems to have a single orientation and where we have seen so far the bazooka to be pointed out was for TAP, in projects for the Lisbon metro, it was in the 300 million for tourism in the Algarve and we, in Metropolitan Area, we couldn’t stand still in this regard ”, defended the deputy mayor of Porto, Filipe Araújo, during the meeting of the Metropolitan Council this Friday where the elaboration of a Metropolitan Plan for Economic Development and to be submitted to the Government by mid-October.
For the mayor, this metropolitan plan must clearly show what the AMP wants to be in the coming years, defining priorities in areas such as energy, transport or proximity agriculture.
Also the deputy mayor of Espinho, António Pinto, was concerned about the allocation of funds from the Recovery Fund, especially if the large investments already announced total about 80% of the money that Portugal will receive from Brussels.
“The question today is not in the types of intervention, (…) the big question is how the funds will be affected. If in Portugal, in this order, investment in the airport in Lisbon, investment in a high-speed connection Porto-Lisbon, investment in the Lisbon metro and investment in the Porto metro, in the light of the funds available, what percentage is left over for other things ”, he questioned, stressing that if these investments represent about 80% of the global amount, there will be 20% left to make the investments that the region needs.
Before, the president of AMP, Eduardo Vítor Rodrigues, had already explained that it was agreed with the Government to deliver a conforming document that defines the investment priorities in the metropolitan area, which must happen by mid-October.
“It is necessary to work during the month of August and September, so that we can deliver by October a very concrete proposal that reflects our priorities explained last year, in the National Investment Plan (PNI) - which had to do with the railroad, with the metro from Porto, with the ports, with the airport - but taking into account a new reality that results from Covid as the bankruptcies of companies and institutions in the social sector ”.
For the construction of the Metropolitan Plan for Economic and Social Development, as he was called, the mayor wants to collect contributions not only from the municipalities, but also from universities and companies, in order to ensure that the priorities defined there can be materialized.
Faced with concerns about the distribution of funds, Eduardo Vítor Rodrigues stressed that it is up to the AMP to do its homework, before criticizing centralism.
“What I cannot accept is that we are always saying bad things about Lisbon and do not do our homework and, therefore, as president of the Metropolitan Area, I have an obligation to draw attention to what should be the debate we have to face. do, extend it if possible to the region ”, he declared, when questioned by journalists.
The mayor even mentioned that when it comes to investment, although he recognizes the difficulties in the negotiations, the region cannot complain, pointing to the example of the Porto metro, whose investment was higher than that of Lisbon.
“We already have projects going on the ground in Metro do Porto, with the Pink Line and the Yellow Line, in Vila Nova de Gaia (…). We have a set of new lines that even include a crossing bridge, on the Douro River, next to Arrábida which is absolutely stabilized, we have a study in progress. I believe that we should not be impressed by the capacity that may exist to present projects that are not yet incorporated in the plan, we have to do our homework ”, he reiterated.