The head of the Madeiran executive, Miguel Albuquerque, expressed today “solidarity” with the executive president of the Ryanair group, Michael O’Leary, when he declared that the ETS environmental fees foreseen by the European Union represent a “threat to the growth of tourism in Portugal ”.
“The European Union wants to be the champion of climate change, but the European Union has to take into account that there are outermost regions and that these outermost regions must have a complete exception for air transport”, said Miguel Albuquerque.
The president of the Regional Government (PSD/CDS-PP) was speaking on the sidelines of a visit to the Casa Museu Frederico de Freitas, in Funchal, where he commented on the statements made by Michael O’Leary in a virtual press conference on Wednesday.
“In addition to excessive fees, another threat to the growth of tourism in Portugal comes in the form of ETS [Emissions Trading System] fees, which unfairly target short-haul flights, with the inclusion of the outermost regions of the European Union having been recently proposed, including Madeira, already in 2024”, pointed out Michael O’Leary.
For the leader of the Irish airline Ryanair, if this measure is approved, “tourists will face higher costs when visiting Madeira, in relation to other non-European holiday destinations, which means that the island will probably lose visitors to destinations outside the European Union, such as Morocco, Turkey and Jordan, which are exempt from paying ETS”.
“I am in solidarity with him. What is happening in the European Union is a disgrace”, declared Miguel Albuquerque.
The head of the Madeiran executive defended a “complete exception” in terms of environmental fees for air transport to the outermost regions of the European Union, namely Madeira, the Azores and the Canary Islands.
“It is fundamental that air travel is not penalized, because we are jeopardizing a fundamental industry for the development of these regions, the tourist industry”, he said, indicating that he intends to send a letter this week to the president of the Government of the Canary Islands warning him or for the situation.
“From the moment the outermost regions are penalized, there are movements to contest the European integration policy. I think this is not what the European Union wants”, he warned.
“If they want to commit suicide, they should commit suicide, now they cannot blow up the outermost economies, which are fragile economies that depend on air transport for their survival”, he reinforced.