||Portugal : Signed contract to expand Lisbon airport capacity
||"Every day of delay is another day that adds up to the 50-year waiting period," said Prime Minister Antnio Costa at the signing of the agreement to expand Lisbon airport capacity between the State and ANA Aeroportos, which took place at the Base Aerial of Montijo. The contract, which was signed by the Minister of Planning and Infrastructures , Pedro Marques, foresees the investment by the airport company of 1.15 billion euros in the expansion of Humberto Delgado airport and in the transformation of the military base of Montijo into a civil airport, which should start operating in 2022.
The Prime Minister stressed that "this is the decision and now we have to put it into practice". "I no longer question whether the decision, which was taken by the 19th Government," was right or wrong, "he added, otherwise a discussion would delay the decision in half a century. Antonio Costa expressed his satisfaction at the decision "to have the support of the local authorities in the region" and "with a broad political agreement".
Move forward with what you can advance
Antnio Costa said that there is only "one condition that no one can call into question, which has to do with the environmental impact assessment and the aeronautical safety assurance" of Montijo airport. But "the work has to move forward and can advance already in the dimension that has to do with the improvement of the operating conditions at Humberto Delgado Airport, where we are not subject to environmental impact study".
And as for Montijo, "we have to prepare everything for as soon as the study is completed, it can be appreciated and decided, and if the decision is, as we hope, favorable, the work that has to take place here can also start immediately" , said.
50 years of indecision
The Prime Minister recalled that the start two works for the expansion of Lisbon airport capacity began in the Government of Marcello Caetano, 50 years ago. "We paid a very high cost for not making a decision," he said, adding that "this cost resulted in the asphyxiation of the current airport of Portela, the difficulty of the airport to support the country's economic development, tourism, and will have the cost of waiting until 2022 so that we can inaugurate the new airport in Montijo .
Antnio Costa also said that "for more than 20 years it was decided that this airport was urgent to compete with the exhaustion that then existed at Madrid airport. Unfortunately our competitors have not stood still and the aeronautical hub we are today for much of the world is no longer vast because in the meantime others have decided and executed before us. "
Lessons to learn
The Prime Minister said that this is a good example "of how political decision-making should not be: it is not possible for us to have 50 years to make a decision; it is not possible to make decisions of this magnitude by changing the meaning of each change of Government ', so we have to learn some lessons.
The first is that "the political decision has to be based on secure, transparent, syndicable, convincing and shared technical information - that is why we have reestablished a higher public works council".
The second is that "the decision must be as consensual as possible, so it should not be a decision of only one government, it must have parliamentary validation to hold everyone accountable and involve everyone".
The third is that there is "continuity of the State, which is only one and has to give continuity to the decisions that the legitimate political power in each moment takes and that happens to him to continue".
A Previous government has taken decisions; we would have taken other decisions but they were taken and what was to be done was to respect them and give them continuity because it was not possible to question what was already legally consolidated."
"Failing to follow up would have been a total irresponsibility that would not allow us today to sign this agreement, nor to anyone in the next ten years," he said.
The Prime Minister also pointed out the importance of airport capacity for a country such as Portugal, stating that "if we want an economy that is increasingly internationalized, we must have better and better international connections".
This capacity also serves "national integrity because continuity between the Continent and the Autonomous Regions is mainly ensured by air transport" and "serves the link between the national community resident in Portugal and the seven departures of the world".
It is also fundamental "for a country like Portugal, open to the world, on the border of Europe with the Atlantic, a meeting point for cultures, peoples civilizations and various diasporas," he said.
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