I followed, with sadness, the whole process of indirect “election” of the Chairmen of the Regional Coordination and Development Commissions (CCDR). I was president of the CCDRC in a very complicated period, and I am well aware of the difficulties encountered by the management teams of these organizations, which are essential to land management and regional development. The scenario in which we live is very demanding and would recommend common sense and the ability to decide according to the national interest. A country which does not like to make plans, which does not coordinate actions between the different municipalities and regions and which, consequently, aggravated, despite the more than 120 billion euros in Community funds, regional inequalities, could not in any case, in this way in the ability to transfer skills to the regions.
Many Portuguese have been waiting for administrative regions for some time. They believe that this is the only way to make a regional qualitative leap, in terms of planning, management, attracting investments, which will make it possible to fight against demographic and economic desertification, by raising national regions to levels of development comparable to the most important regions of Europe. . I’m not convinced this is the way, as I know the CCDR model should be explored better. In fact, the CCDRs have the necessary human and technical resources and are spread over the entire territory. It would therefore suffice to strengthen them in terms of skills and legitimacy for the results to be different. Regional decision-making powers, which would strengthen the decisions taken in a strengthened and reformulated Regional Council, and which would make it possible to adapt national public policies to the region. Skills to define and implement a regional strategy, duly planned, as a means of solving the problems of the region and stimulating the investments and transformations necessary to change its future. This planning and coordinating role is essential for the future of the country and should guide the changes to be made to the CCDR and the respective regional bodies. All of this demands greater legitimacy from those who run the CCDR, so I understood the need to change the way they were appointed.
However, the result obtained is disastrous and a huge organizational and democratic setback, proving right to all those, including the President of the Republic, who are wary of regionalization and see it as another way of creating party appointments positions. quickly unnecessary and a burden on taxpayers. In a shameful process, PS and PSD have decided to divide the CCDR among themselves: the North and the Center belong to the PSD; Lisbon, Alentejo and Algarve are from the PS. The law was hastily made to legitimize this democratic aberration and in no way defends the national interest. The CCDR leadership is now “elected” by an electoral college of mayors, with candidacies subscribed by 15% of the electoral college, that is to say that the will of a region is reduced to the opinion of municipal executives. , municipal assemblies and joint presidents. In the regions, there are no companies, no entrepreneurs, no universities and polytechnics, no trade or industry professionals, no professionals, no professional orders, no industrial and professional associations, or any other type of association. , nor any form of independent thought. and criticism, nothing. There are only mayors who are asked to “elect” according to the orientations of the party. Incomprehensibly, the Regional Council, which includes representatives from several other organizations, has not functioned as an example of what should be an electoral college representative of the region, its interests and the wishes of the respective populations.
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In other words, the aforementioned legislation has been drafted to ensure that the “electoral” law is as unrepresentative as possible, thus completely missing the objective of strengthening the legitimacy of the CCDR, and that the personality indicated by the board of the two parties is “elected”. I don’t know if the Estado Novo would do much better.
The other failed objective was to strengthen the skills of planning and organization of the territory, seeking to design investment plans to differentiate the regions and make them attractive for economic activity. Community funds are used to solve the problems that have been identified and which put the region to work together, in search of intra and interregional synergies which help to make a difference. It is not a good formula; rather, it’s an uncertain formula that has intelligence and planning in the background. However, all this is impossible to achieve when the CCDR is partisan and the rules are hidden in order to avoid any type of independent candidacy.
Rui Rio and António Costa’s option was to insist on a route that has already shown that it does not help the country. The results are visible to all: our inability to plan, to think of the country as a whole and to choose who best represents this mission, has made any community investment in regional cohesion and development virtually useless. Deep regional inequalities should make political leaders reflect on the path we have taken. However, for petty and small group reasons, the PS and the PSD insist on transforming the CCDR into partisan delegations of the central state. It is a false road that the President of the Republic should prevent.