João Guerreiro: UAlg will be unable to function if the Government cuts more funding

«The proposal [for cuts in funding for Universities] sent to the Assembly of the Republic, if approved, will impede the University of […]

«The proposal [for cuts in funding for Universities] sent to the Assembly of the Republic, if approved, will prevent the University of the Algarve from functioning during 2013,» warned the rector of UAlg João Guerreiro.

The head of the Algarve university says that the cuts that could be made have already been made in the past and that a further decrease in funding, which at UAlg will be "greater than 12,5 percent" in 2013, will lead to a situation of "almost default generalized', particularly with regard to the payment of salaries.

The announcement was made to journalists on the sidelines of the launch session of the project «Algarve 2020 – A Young Proposal», on Wednesday, and reinforced by João Guerreiro in statements to Sul Informação.

“Staff reductions, renegotiations of the cost of services and the limitation of some operating expenses have been adopted in recent years. Initiatives for this purpose are exhausted. They cannot be subject to further reductions», assured the rector of UAlg.

Given this reality, the UAlg and other counterparts in the country, believe "that the Assembly of the Republic (AR) will surely restore the cuts that, unexpectedly and many of them without prior notice, were introduced in transfers from the State Budget."

On Wednesday, João Guerreiro had already stated that "universities are not elastic boxes or rubber boxes that can be compressed at will." He also defended that "there are limits" and that these were overcome by the Government's proposal, which advised to carry out "a very rigorous assessment of the needs of universities".

“I don't see any other possibility but to restore the blind cuts that were announced in the proposed Budget Law. It should be remembered that the universities as a whole lost, from 2005 to 2013 (in 8 years), around 200 million euros. But, at the same time, they assumed commitments that were not part of their attributions, without any budgetary reinforcement», he declared, on the other hand, to our newspaper.

According to the dean of UAlg, a cut like the one planned to be made in relation to last year – where the cut reached 8,5 percent compared to 2011 - “needs, to be accommodated in the University's financial situation, at least at least three years', to enable the implementation of medium-term measures, namely 'reforms granted in the meantime, expenses renegotiated at the end of contracts and new applications for research support programmes', among others.

«Presenting in the following year (2013), as a proposal, a new cut that, in the case of the University of Algarve, exceeds 12,5 percent, cannot be approved [by the AR]. As I said, this proposal would make the overall functioning of the University unfeasible, which is certainly not in the objectives of the Government and of the Assembly of the Republic».