"It is necessary to end the taboo of Regionalization", defends the outgoing president of ANMP

By April 1 of next year, the decentralization process will have to be completed

Manuel Machado – Photo: Elisabete Rodrigues | Sul Informação

“Decentralization [of competences to municipalities] is important, but it is not enough. It will be necessary to continue and it has to be complemented with Regionalization», defended today, in Portimão, the still president of the National Association of Portuguese Municipalities (ANMP).

Manuel Machado's statements were made on the sidelines of the decentralized meeting of the ANMP's board of directors, which took place this Tuesday, the 23rd, in Portimão.

The meeting was intended to make "the final analysis of what will be presented, in terms of documentation and resolution proposals", at the ANMP Congress, which will take place on December 10th and 11th, in Aveiro.

Manuel Machado, who will cease his duties as the highest director of ANMP at that congress, having lost the presidency of the Coimbra City Council in the recent Local Elections, also stressed that this meeting in the Algarve is of "special importance" to prepare "the documents structures that will be the center of the decisions that will be taken at the congress", "aimed at generating consensus, as broad as possible, so that the congress brings an encouraging perspective for the future".

In recent years, and as far as the Municipalities are concerned, "there have been important advances", especially in the "decentralization process, which we want to expand and continue towards regionalization".

Therefore, defended the outgoing ANMP president in his statements to journalists, Regionalization, as well as "the successes and insufficiencies of the decentralization process", will be "an intense topic for debate at the congress".

"Already in the previous congress, the need for Regionalization was evident and it has become even more evident now, in this period of pandemic, when the response capacities installed in deconcentrated State services were hardly able to fully fulfill what was their mission" , stressed.

Therefore, considered Manuel Machado, "there are new arguments here" to "end with the taboo of administrative Regionalization", guaranteeing that the ANMP "will make concrete contributions".


Manuel Machado – Photo: Elisabete Rodrigues | Sul Informação

The fact is that, he stressed, "there will have to be, on the side of the organization of the State, which is another of the themes of our congress, the reorganization of public services in territorial terms."

"In some parts of the national territory, more than others, the maps do not coincide – those in the Health area have one type of zoning, those in Social Security have another, the zoning of highways is asynchronous with that of Agriculture or ICNF, in terms of Civil Protection there is a paraphernalia of territories, with different definitions. Things don't go well and it's necessary to resolve this».

Now, he underlined, «the methodology that we recommend is that this be achieved through Regionalization. It is high time to overcome the taboo and have a constructive proposal that satisfies the national interest».

Manuel Machado also defended the importance of moving forward “with full use of human resources and available financial means”.

"Community funds are extremely important, as are the financing achievable through the PRR, and we are concerned that the deadline for completion is until 2026, because 2026 is already tomorrow: designing projects, launching public procurement procedures, making this whole ordeal can not allowing time to fully implement all the RRP appropriations'.

On the side of the Municipalities, he guaranteed, «we are preparing everything to achieve this», being also important «the crossing that is being made, with the Government, of the PRR financing with the expected financing of Portugal 2030».

As for the process of decentralization of competences to the municipalities, "it is underway, entering at cruising speed", such that, according to the legally defined calendar, "the 22 areas subject to decentralization enter into concrete execution on the day 1st of April'.

"Each municipality must remain aware that it is part of the national whole and that development must be shared and faced in an innovative way that takes full advantage of the available resources, including the PRR and Portugal2030 funding", considered the president. of the ANMP.

In this sense, Manuel Machado also referred to the investment of 4,4 million euros, to be made until 2026, which will be made in the «training of human resources, which is very important».

"Even before the congress, in eight days, we will sign a financing contract for training and professional training of municipal employees, nationwide, based on the foundation-school that ANMP has, FEFAL." In articulation with the INA, National Institute of Administration, "large thousands of agents of local administration will be trained", he announced.