Mayors of six municipalities in the Alentejo and Algarve regions have asked for the “postponement” of the process of transferring powers to the National Association of Portuguese Municipalities (ANMP), from which they demand a “more prominent” intervention in the defense of local power.
In a statement sent to the Lusa news agency, the mayors of Alcácer do Sal and Seixal (Setúbal), Avis (Portalegre), Évora, Silves (Faro) and Vidigueira (Beja) explained that they sent a letter to the ANMP last week, to call attention to the “complexity” of transferring competences in the areas of Education, Health and Social Services.
In the same document, the mayors indicated that the process of decentralizing State competences to the municipalities presents “a set of non-conformities and unbearable burdens” that “jeopardize the financial sustainability of the municipalities”. And the process requires “a deepening of knowledge of the existing constraints”, as well as the “urgent taking of measures” to overcome these limitations or to “prevent them from deepening”.
“The signatory municipalities consider it urgent that there is a more prominent intervention by the ANMP in the defense of the interests of democratic local power, its autonomy and carrying capacity, as well as the public service and social functions of the State”, the mayors said in the statement.
Referring to the positive holding of a national meeting, promoted by the ANMP, the six mayors stressed that “there are urgent issues that need an effective response”. And this “has to be built, taking into account the impacts, in many cases unbearable, in 2022, without prejudice to a more definitive assessment in the State Budget for 2023.”
For all of these reasons, in the letter, the mayors have asked for “the postponement, if not the revocation, of what is foreseen in the social area, as well as the suspension of the development of the process” in the health area.