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Madeira’s President calls for more autonomy from Portugal

Madeira’s President calls for more autonomy from Portugal

This happened after the archipelago received less from the national budget

At the start of this week, the Portuguese Government delivered its draft State Budget for 2022 to the national parliament for approval. The draft proposal is ambitious and optimistic-sounding in its aim to restore the country’s economy to pre-pandemic levels, well in line for a recovery boost.

However, the Government of Madeira (an autonomous island region) was reportedly not too impressed with the budget proposal. In fact, so much so, that the President of Madeira, Miguel Albuquerque, raised the possibility of instigating a revision of the Constitution in order to seek further autonomy from Lisbon.

The national and regional governments are headed by opposing political parties

Miguel Albuquerque represents the centre-right Social Democratic Party (PSD), which is the main opposition to the Socialists currently heading the national government. That might partially explain the division and gap in rhetoric and policies between the Atlantic archipelago and the mainland.

In 2022, Madeira is set to receive 217,210,880 million euros, 15 million less than this year. Although Lisbon previews that the Portuguese economy will grow by 5.5% in 2022, it nevertheless has set aside less money for the islands.

In response, Mr Albuquerque, who was attending the inauguration ceremony of the new municipal administration of Porto Santo (a smaller island of the archipelago), said that his government will present a constitutional revision project in order to ensure that the development instruments are available to his region.

The Madeiran President recalled that year after year transfers from the State to the autonomous regions have been decreasing, the health subsystems of the Armed Forces, the GNR and the PSP police forces, which should be the responsibility of the State, have been ensured by the Regional Budget and that the State does not guarantee the extra costs with Education and Health.

We are going to present, regardless of whether they want it or not, whether it is the moment or not, a project for a constitutional review, where the fundamental principles of Political Autonomy and the development of Madeira are guaranteed”, indicated Miguel Albuquerque, as quoted on the regional government’s website.

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