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Madeira Refuses to Terminate Its Golden Visa Program

President of Madeira, Miguel Albuquerque, has refused the requirement to abolish the Golden Visa scheme, despite Portugal’s decision.

His comments came during an interview with Diario de Noticias, reports.

“It is bad for the national economy. Nothing justifies Madeira being covered by this set of measures that are fundamentally aimed at Lisbon as well as Porto,” he pointed out.

The President stressed that Madeira wants to continue offering the Residency by Investment Scheme, known as the Golden Visa Program to foreigners, arguing that it significantly contributed to the country’s economy.

Albuquerque stated that he does not support the measures introduced by Portugal as part of the Mais Habitacao program, which he considered counterproductive, statist and almost Venezuelan.

He added that Madeira’s autonomy gave it the capacity as well as the authority to legislate on the matter.

President of Madeira warned that if discussions don’t go the way he hopes, he was prepared to join Portugal’s Autonomous Region, the Azores, in creating a united front against the central government’s proposal. Albuquerque said that the Azores are in the same situation.

“They don’t want these measures either. We were not consulted, and that is a shame. This was all decided centrally and without knowledge of the regional reality,” he pointed out.

At the same time, the President of the Azores, Jose Manuel Bolieriro, stressed that the Autonomous Region is not going to abdicate political autonomy within the framework of legality as well as constitutionality.

While emphasizing that the scheme made a significant contribution to the country, Albuquerque said that “you can’t joke about something so serious”, mentioning the fact that last year alone the Golden Visa program brought over 600 million euros.

Following a wider package of measures to tackle the housing crisis, authorities in Portugal abolished the Golden Visa Program on February 16.

During a press conference, the Council of Ministers read out all the measures part of the package, while among them was also the decision to abolish the much-criticized scheme.

Portugal’s Residency by Investment scheme permitted foreign investors to acquire residency if they made a specific amount of money invested in this country. However, Portugal’s government was urged several times to abolish this program.

Besides, the European Union continues to call on all European countries that offer Golden Visas to terminate them as soon as possible, following reports that they also permit persons involved in illicit affairs to benefit from this program.

In addition to Portugal, Ireland also abolished its Golden Visa Scheme last month, becoming the second country to take such a step this year.



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