The German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, in a meeting with German youths, criticized EU spending in Madeira. ‘Those who have visited Madeira,’ she said, ‘can see where the structural funding has been spent. There are many beautiful tunnels and highways, but this did not contribute to competitiveness’. ‘Therefore, we decided in the last Council that the structural funding still available until 2013 should be used to help small and medium companies and not to build roads, bridges and tunnels’.
President Jardim reacted, accusing Merkel of making ‘ignorant’ statements about Madeira, but he also seemed to agree with her statement, saying that they explain the ‘wrong options’ leading to the current European economic situation.
The PSD MEP, Nuno Teixeira considered Merkel’s declarations as a ‘great imbecility’. ‘They are such a great imbecility that it’s hard to believe that they were uttered by the head of a government of a nation such as Germany’.
Merkel’s statement obviously hit the nail on the head. The Regional Government has always privileged the building of infrastructures over the sustainability of the economy, partly because of vested interests and partly due to electoral priorities: inaugurating new infrastructures is the mainstay of the PSD election campaigns.
Even now the Regional Government’s priorities remain unchanged. They are considering raising port taxes by 15% to raise extra revenue, at the risk of losing some of the cruise liner business.
At the same time, they are determined to waste 15 million Euros on a new, unnecessary docking facility in Funchal harbor. This project is to resort to the ‘reconstruction funding’ (Lei de Meios), even though no infrastructures of Funchal harbor were destroyed or damaged and the cheaper and rational option would have been to simply remove the landfill from Funchal harbor. The harbor blueprint alone cost 1.5 million Euros, which was adjudicated without public tender to a firm with close connections to the Executive.