The Regional Government of Madeira announced today that it will appeal the decision of the General Court of the European Union that gave the European Commission the right to consider state aid to the Free Zone of this autonomous region to be illegal.

“We are going to appeal against this decision, because we understand that it is a preposterous decision, sorry for the term”, declared the president of the Regional Government of Madeira, Miguel Albuquerque, to journalists, at the Belém Palace, in Lisbon, where he was heard today as a president of PSD/Madeira on the date of the next elections for the Madeiran parliament.

Miguel Albuquerque argued that “the International Business Center of Madeira is an instrument for the internationalization of the regional economy and the national economy, that is, it exists with State aid in order to provide the diversification of the region’s economy, which has its limitations , and work in the world market”.

The Madeira Free Trade Zone covers “a group of companies that operate in the world market”, based in the region, but that “need to have employees in the markets where they work”, he maintained.

The President of the Regional Government of Madeira therefore contested the principle of “limiting jobs to the physical existence of jobs in the Autonomous Region of Madeira”.

“Saying that the workers of these companies that work in the international market have to be physically limited to working in the Autonomous Region of Madeira makes no sense and is exactly the opposite of what we intend”, he reinforced.

Miguel Albuquerque said he was not sure which body the Regional Government of Madeira would appeal to, but that he was informed “that these decisions are subject to appeal”.

The General Court of the European Union today rejected an appeal presented by Madeira, supporting the decision of the European Commission to consider illegal state aid to the Free Zone of this autonomous region.

The appeal rejected today concerns a European Commission decision of December 4, 2020 according to which the State aid regime granted to the Madeira Free Trade Zone is incompatible with the rules of the internal market.

This procedure was opened due to doubts by the European Commission regarding the application of tax exemptions on income from activities effectively and materially carried out in the autonomous region and regarding the connection between the amount of aid and the creation or maintenance of effective jobs in Madeira. 

The International Business Center of Madeira, also called the Free Trade Zone, has more than 2,400 registered companies, which are responsible for 82% of the region’s export volume, generating tax revenues of around 100 million euros, which represent around 6,000 direct and indirect jobs.

From Jornal Madeira