TAP nationalization: yes or no? The positions of the main 'actors'

TAP is at an impasse, not knowing whether the Government is betting on nationalization, a possibility that has already been admitted. Even so, many parties admit to being against the nationalization of the national air carrier, since in 10 years the company has suffered losses in nine.

The nationalization of TAP is on the table after private shareholders failed to support 1,2 billion euros. However, if the Government wants to bet on nationalizing the air carrier, there are parties that reject this hypothesis and want TAP to remain as it is.

The Prime Minister, António Costa, believes that today, July 1, "will be the day of solution for TAP". "TAP is surely on the way to having a stable solution that ensures Portugal maintains its company, which is fundamental for our territorial continuity, for our connection with the world", admitted António Costa at the reopening of the borders with Spain.

"I am sure that, if not today, in the limit in the coming days we will have a final solution," said the Prime Minister, referring to a solution in the coming days. "If I had to bet I would say that today will be the day of solution for TAP," he said in statements to journalists.

At the parliamentary hearing on the loan, Pedro Nuno Santos assumed that the “TAP is too important to drop it”, clarifying that a lot of money is involved and that it has to be subject to “careful management, which implies that we are able to leave TAP with a dimension that does not point to a 'TAPzinha', leave TAP with greater probabilities of sustainability and future viability ”, said the Minister of Infrastructure and Housing at the hearing that took place yesterday.

The President of the Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, points out that it is important that “the solution found is the best possible solution” and that letting TAP go bankrupt “is certainly not a hypothesis”. The President of the Republic points out that now "what matters is to safeguard that TAP serves Portugal and the Portuguese" during current times and in the future, having added that he hopes that "it will be the result of what is perhaps being talked about or spoken at this time ”.

"TAP, as a Portuguese company, plays a fundamental role in connecting to the autonomous regions, to Portuguese communities around the world and to the largest possible number of Portuguese-speaking countries", stressed Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa yesterday, June 30

In April, Bloco de Esquerda had already submitted a proposal to nationalize TAP, but Catarina Martins maintained that “we cannot be injecting money to reward private shareholders who have been truly destroying TAP”, referring to economic losses and losses of work stations.

Addressing the bet on nationalization, the leader of the Bloco de Esquerda clarified that if a nationalization proceeds, it must be accompanied by a strategic program to ensure that TAP serves Portugal, the population and the economy.

“We are very concerned with the continuation of this process. The Government cannot delay decisions, which in fact are being taken across Europe, to allow flag airlines to continue to exist in aviation, ”said the blockade leader yesterday, June 30

João Cotrim Figueiredo, the only deputy of the Liberal Initiative in the Assembly of the Republic, had already defended, in January, the privatization of TAP, RTP and Caixa Geral de Depósitos.

The Liberal Initiative was the first party to protest "absolutely against the nationalization" of the national air carrier, clarifying that it will continue "to lead the opposition to prevent state worshipers from opening yet another bottomless hole for all of us to pay".

Cotrim Figueiredo's party had already submitted a proposal to amend the Supplementary Budget, which was unsuccessful, so that any government aid to TAP, such as that of the 1,2 billion euros, had to pass through the Assembly of the Republic first to be discussed.

“IL will continue to lead the opposition to prevent state worshipers from opening yet another bottomless hole for all of us to pay. No to nationalization ”, wrote João Cotrim Figueiredo on Twitter on Tuesday, June 30

André Ventura, deputy of Chega, also spoke out against the nationalization of TAP last Tuesday, June 30, and called on the Government to “not give up on the negotiations” and to look for an alternative solution “that does not involve nationalizing the company aerial ”. "TAP is a strategic company, it needs to be well managed, it needs to give good results but, above all, it needs to be oriented towards the service of the Portuguese," said Ventura.

“This is not the time to give in to pressure from the extreme left, it is not the time to nationalize the company, it is time to create a business plan, to audit TAP, to demand results and to achieve, with these results , take TAP to a successful port and manage to create a strong strategic company ”, assumed the deputy.

“We cannot take the step back from wanting an airline again at the level of Venezuela or Bolivia, we must have a modern airline, at the level of what we want in the European Union, and that requires a partnership between the State and the private ”, defended the deputy of Chega.

PSD leader Rui Rio admitted on June 30 that he did not see “the need to do a nationality, a diploma that passes TAP into the public sphere”, showing that he does not support nationalization with the non-agreement between private shareholders and State. “I see the need for a capital increase in which, if the private companies do not follow, the State automatically takes the majority of the capital. This is not nationalization. It is a capital increase that the private sector does not want to follow ”, defended the PSD's president.

Rui Rio also compared TAP to Novo Banco, explaining that the carrier "has not yet reached the level of Novo Banco", asking if "we want a New Bank to be walking in a few years with similar situations?".

The PSD president assumed that “it is only worth investing in TAP” if “credible business and restructuring plans” are carried out that give guarantees that TAP will not ask for more money after one year, as happened last year.

“This Government did wrong when it reversed privatization. It put TAP in a situation that is neither meat nor fish. The State has 50% and the private ones too, but the private ones are in charge and the State cannot say anything, nor the routes, ”said Rui Rio

The parliamentary leader of the PAN, Inês Sousa Real, pointed out yesterday, June 30, that in the party's opinion, “the option announced by the Government of an eventual nationalization of TAP would not be the ideal option, but a conditioned loan” in which to verify “the conditions of management and capital injection in a responsible way, starting with a restructuring from the point of view of business management and that was conditioned to some aspects”.

Through a video, the party was concerned with "the financial balance" of the air carrier and that it is "in a situation of virtually technical bankruptcy"

Inês Sousa Real affirmed that it is “fundamental to fight for this restructuring” and not “to start on a path that will end up benefiting TAP managers, because they will have to be reimbursed from the point of view of the capital invested in the company, whether by through the nationalization process, whether through the loan or the capital injection ”.

João Gonçalves Pereira, CDS deputy in Parliament, highlighted yesterday, June 30, that it is still early to comment on the position but that “the CDS, as a matter of principle, is against” the nationalization of the company, but that if “the State, like other European Union states, you have to intervene in the company, we have to assess under what conditions ”.

The deputy also accused the minister of harming the company and the workers that make it up, with the statements he has made in recent months. “The minister reveals some pride and some arrogance and this has been a great penalizer in the destruction of the company's own value”

"The balance we make from this hearing is that, throughout all these months, the minister, instead of helping, has objectively harmed the company TAP", reiterated João Gonçalves Pereira after leaving the hearing to the Minister of Infrastructure and Housing

Miguel Albuquerque, president of the Regional Government of Madeira, also said yesterday, June 30, in an interview with Rádio Renascença, that he has nothing against the State's intervention in TAP if it is to save the airline and the economy “in a time of crisis atypical like this ”.

However, Miguel Albuquerque recalled that trips to Madeira, from the mainland, were more expensive than to New York, an intercontinental flight. "If they are going to put money in TAP to make a policy like any other commercial company, it is not worth it", said the regional president of Madeira to Renascença.

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